NAMI DuPage is a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost mental health programs and services to more than 20,000 children and adults annually throughout DuPage County.
Founded in 1985 by parents of adult children with mental illness, they are an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. All affiliates are legally and financially independent organizations with NAMI DuPage being one of the largest and most active affiliates in the country.
Through the mission of providing support, education, and advocacy to individuals with mental illness and their families, they offer a wide variety of “peer-led” classes and support groups to both individuals and to family members as well as peer counseling, peer services, and educational presentations at hospitals, Mental Health First Aid Trainings, Supported Employment Classes and Job Coaching, presentations to community organizations on mental health topics, and a variety of Support/Recreation programs.
Many Naperville residents are also familiar with the “Ending the Silence” program offered in area schools. The innovative program which was developed at NAMI DuPage and now used at NAMI affiliates across the country, to educate participants on the symptoms of mental illness, local resources available, and the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. They also offer a teen support group and an education program for teachers and parents.
They also have a new police program, “PD CONNECT” in which police refer individuals and families involved in mental health calls to NAMI DuPage. Program peers then contact those involved to offer them NAMI services as well as connect them to other area resources. NAMI DuPage’s social work consultant also works with the police officers to offer support and advice on particular cases in an effort to reduce further police intervention.
NAMI DuPage has not held an in-person fundraiser for two years but is hosting an “Octoberfest” at DuPage Fairgrounds from October 1-3. Live entertainment every day, in addition to kids’ activities, a car show, a carnival, and more!
Geri Kerger, Executive Director
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