Franklin Countys First News

NAMI plans programs in western Maine

AUGUSTA - National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grass-roots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Its main role is to create awareness, education and advocacy and to support individuals, families, friends and caregivers of persons living with mental illness.

Maine has a NAMI affiliate office in Augusta and several smaller state affiliates of which NAMI Western Mountains is one. This affiliate covers all of Oxford and Franklin counties. All affiliates embody the mission and goals of NAMI and pursue these with the same standards of excellence and level of passion. Western Mountains affiliate is organized to bring NAMI’s role of creating awareness, education, support and advocacy to the communities in the two counties in western Maine under the guidance and support of NAMI Maine.

Except for a small number of paid staff at the state office, all other workers are volunteers, and all workers, paid or not, have lived experience with mental health problems. The affiliate’s mission includes reporting on local issues and needs, as well as bringing NAMI’s resource information and programs to the local area to help address local needs, do local outreach and support an annual NAMI Maine walk team to raise funds. All of NAMI’s programs are free to participants thanks to fund raising efforts and intensive grant writing.

NAMI Western Mountains provides NAMI support groups (in Mexico and Farmington, Livermore starting soon), Family to Family education classes (one in Rumford started April 24), hosts NAMI programs like Mental Health First Aid, Crisis Intervention Training and Suicide Awareness/Prevention.

To that end, thanks to a NAMI Maine grant, eight Youth Mental Health First Aid courses have been scheduled in the Western Mountains area, four in each county. One was held in Rangeley on May 10; the next is in Rumford at MVHS on May 29. Others are scheduled the last week of June and in August in Fryeburg, Oxford Hills, Bethel, Wilton, Stratton and Jay. For more information and to register, go to, choose “Calendar” and scroll down until you reach the program you are looking for. You may also call NAMI Maine at 1-800-464-5767; No. 1 is the Helpline where you can talk with a real person about any mental health issue; otherwise, stay on the line and an operator will help you with your needs.

The affiliate is also in the process of scheduling a NAMI Suicide Awareness/Prevention program in Rumford soon and has had several requests to schedule adult Mental Health First Aid courses . And, Western Mountains has registered a NAMI walk team by the same name for the annual walk on Sept. 23 at SMCC campus in S. Portland. The team gets to keep 50 percent of funds it raises to help with needs in its area. ALL funds raised stay in Maine. Go to for more information and to donate or register to walk. (Please specify team Western Mountains to support this area.)

In the Western Mountains affiliate area, you may also get information or request specific programs by calling: Oxford County: Dottie at 364-2197 or email, Sue at 418-7904 and Franklin County: Louise at 592-9933.

Remember, one of 5 people are affected by mental health problems in our families, work place, church, neighborhood or at a beach or campground, even at the store. NAMI and its affiliates are working hard to help bring a better quality of life to all who are affected in this state. So, please call or email and let us know what programs, events and information you perceive as needs in this area.

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1 Responses »

  1. What a great outreach program that is truely needed in our communities. Thanks to NAMI and all the volunteers who are making this possible!