By Katrina Gay, NAMI Director of Communications
The definition of community is quietly and quickly expanding—boundaries of geography, social status, politics, economics, culture, age and more are blending together.
Beyond the NAMI Affiliates located in neighborhoods throughout the country, another type of NAMI community is quietly thriving,
With over 41,000 ‘likes’, and over one million views each week, NAMI on Facebook has emerged as a vibrant virtual community, a place where thousands of individuals can connect and offer words of encouragement, requests for support, calls to advocacy action, cries for help and messages of hope. They reveal their experiences with one another for all to see and respond. Their triumphs and tragedies, anger and joy, confusion and wisdom become part of the fabric of their shared experience, eliminating barriers of isolation for many.
Transparent and often unfiltered, members of this community are authentic as revelation of the experience of thousands of individuals, family members, friends and others offer encouragement to hold onto hope and inspiration in their daily lives.
With nearly 9,000 followers, NAMI on Twitter interacts on issues in the daily news, extending our reach and inspiring conversations, driving the debate and shaping issues of importance for people affected by mental illness. Providing access to news about mental health topics from around the country, NAMI can inform its involved community about important stories the moment they happen and encourage advocacy when necessary.
Increasing the influence of our social community is significant as we strive daily at NAMI to build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. For in addition to traditional avenues of support, education, advocacy and inspiration found in our neighborhoods through NAMI meetings and events, through NAMI.org and through the NAMI HelpLine, we extend our reach through our social networks.
Because of the Internet ideas are able to move faster and more easily than ever seen before. This means NAMI can spread the importance of not only providing hope and support to all individuals affected by mental illness no matter their location but also be more effective in its mission to gain equality for all. By being able to easily contact families and individuals who are most directly affected every day it ensures the message is spread with the utmost speed. If there is stigma, we will remove it. If there is injustice, we will fight it. If there is a wrong, we will right it. If there is hope, we will spread it.
If you haven’t enlisted, I encourage you to join the discussion in NAMI’s vibrant virtual community through Facebook and Twitter. Collective and independent, it is a constant, reassuring reminder that we are not alone. Together we can work to guarantee that tomorrow will be a better day.