The day kicked off with opening remarks from Governor Hassan. Her talk inspired the audience to support their loved ones as she did when she became involved in disability rights activism for her son who has cerebral palsy. Her activism marked the beginning of her political career. Next, Jon Wortmann energized the crowd to consider small things that they can do to be mindful and to recognize stress. He recommended everyone in the audience take care of themselves in easy ways, such as writing or coloring. Each table in the room was complete with colored pencils and pages to color.
There were eight workshops to choose from. Some workshops had stories of hope and recovery, while others shared new resources that are being used around the state. All the workshops had great reviews and there was quite a buzz in the hallways as people shared their reactions to the workshops.
At lunch time, Kim Murdock from NAMIWalks NH got the crowd excited about golfing in the hallways! There was an indoor putting green where participants could try a put, and learn more joining the NAMI NH walk, raising awareness and stomping out stigma. The NAMI NH annual walk will be October 2 in Concord. Lots of goodies, including chocolate golf balls, were awarded to all those who tried for a hole-in-one.
After lunch Congressman Guinta took the stage. He shared some of the personal struggles that this family has experienced getting adequate care for their loved one with mental illness. The Congressman, who was joined by his mother, encouraged conference goers to contact their elected officials and make their voice matter.
The day ended by honoring some amazing people. The Annual Awards were created to highlight the extraordinary work of individuals and organizations that go above and beyond to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness. Family and friends of the award winners joined them as they received their awards.
The day was a wonderful day of hope. We hope that you will join us next spring at the 2017 NAMI NH annual conference. For more information or to share a way in which you can become involved, contact Liz Hodgkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Liz Hodgkins