Mission, Vision, History
The mission of NAMI Stark County, Inc. is to (a) empower and provide hope for recovery to people affected by mental illness, their families, and the wider community by providing support, education, information and advocacy; and (b) advocate for policies which improve the quality of life, care, and legal rights of people with mental illness and their families at local, state, and national levels.
Our Ongoing Priorities:
To accomplish the mission we:
- Establish and promote NAMI support groups and education
- Provide information and referral services to peers, their families and mental health professionals for the purpose of improving recovery and access to
- Partner with providers to help peers and families with transition from inpatient
- Advocate for an adequately funded public health system that creates safe and affordable housing and employment opportunities, and provides recovery orientated health care, social services and other supports for persons with mental
- Educate the public and professional community by increasing understanding and eliminating the stigma of mental
- Encourage NAMI Stark County members to become involved in organizations that serve persons who have mental
- Support research into the cause and treatment of mental
- Advocate for individuals and families impacted by mental
We envision a community in which all those affected by mental illness experience the acceptance and support they need to achieve wellness.
Our Foundational Values, which grow from the national organization:
We adhere to the NAMI standards of excellance
- NAMI values support, education, advocacy and research.
- NAMI values the lived experiences of people affected by mental illness.
- NAMI values recovery and resiliency.
- NAMI values confronting the profound injustices associated with mental illness.
- NAMI values best practices.
- NAMI values diversity, inclusion and cultural competence.
History & Overview of NAMI Stark County
It all began in 1981 when two desperate mothers of children with mental illness needed support – needed someone to listen and care. They called the Stark County Association and spoke with Barbara Greavu, the Educational Coordinator, who saw their anguish and put an ad in the newspaper in 1981. A group of people came together and formed “A Reason for Hope” and thus we were first formed, with one monthly meeting being offered.
In 1996, the first “Family to Family” course was offered when we became NAMI Stark County. Two classes were offered that first year and from that point on classes have been regularly offered to capacity. We are currently offering four or five “Family to Family” programs per year.
“Peer to Peer” was introduced in 2005 and is offered at least twice a year. In 2006, “Hand to Hand” was first offered, and was switched to NAMI National Basics Program Education. A weekly support group was started in 2005, and in 2006 a bi-weekly support group was added.
Since 2008, support groups have been added regularly to meet community need and we are currently offering 12 support groups in Canton, Massillon, Alliance and North Canton. These programs are sustained through trained volunteers. NAMI Stark County utilizes over 90 volunteers yearly.
NAMI Stark County officially became a non-profit organization in 2007, acquiring a 501c3 non-profit status at which time we received our first grant. In 2008 we received funding from the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County, opened our 1st office and employed our 1st part-time Executive Director.
In 2012 the Executive Director position became full time and we hired a second full time employee and began the Family Involvement Engagement Program.
Each year we provide a variety of community educational programs/trainings and activities through participation in health fairs, library displays, speaking engagements to area schools, universities, religious organizations, service providers, various employment locations, community organizations and more.
In addition we collaborate with area universities and service providers for community educational programs and anti-stigma activities during Mental Illness Awareness Week and Mental Illness Month. Additionally, NAMI Stark County participates twice a year with the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) collaborative. We offer a quarterly membership meeting and a monthly newsletter.
We advocate for persons and families impacted by mental illness with local and state legislators on issues impacting mental health. In addition, NAMI Stark County offers advocacy for individuals including service linkage, IEP guidance and support, court appearances and team meeting attendance.
Kay A. Raga, Executive Director
Sheryl Falcone, Program Coordinator
Diane Mang, Outreach Coordinator
Kory Miles, Outreach Liaison
Jewell Oppermann, Outreach Liaison
Board of Directors
Bart Fredrick: President
Missy Reed: First Vice President
Elisa Castile: Second Vice President
RJ Fryan: Treasurer
Major C.J. Stantz