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Thanking our Mental Health Heroes!

Thanking our Mental Health Heroes!

These days we hear a lot about the selflessness of nurses, doctors and health care aides on the front line of the COVID crisis.  They are, in a very clear and real sense, risking their own health to provide much needed care to those suffering with this challenging illness.  In fact, all types of workers are at risk and providing helpful, necessary services.

NAMI Ohio and our affiliates wanted to take this time to thank another sector of the health care community that does not often receive recognition – those individuals working as social workers, counselors, therapists, case managers, peer supporters and psychiatrists.  Just like other workers, the ways they provide care has been upended by COVID.  This did not stop them from continuing to deliver counseling and support in a variety of ways – both traditional in-person care and through telehealth.  They checked in with individuals and families and made sure that crisis services were available when someone was in a mental health emergency.  They reached out to make sure that necessary prescriptions were filled so that treatment was not interrupted for those whose medications are an important piece of their recovery.

Agencies providing residential care and inpatient hospitalization continued to do so while implementing new procedures to assure health and safety during COVID.  Agencies serving children, both outpatient and residential, kept their doors open and adapted as best practices in care were disseminated.  Residential care providers for children and adolescents had the additional task of managing emotions and addressing trauma for their residents who were unable to physically visit with their families.

All of this was done in what appeared to be a seamless manner yet must have taken significant planning, processing and thought.

For that, we say – THANK YOU. Thank you for continuing to provide care to the most vulnerable among us. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of minimizing health risk and addressing the increased anxiety for those you serve.  Thank you for not giving up and shutting your doors.  Thank you for your compassion and support. Thank you for your careful treatment.  Please know that NAMI appreciates your efforts and your professionalism.  Words alone are not enough to express our gratitude so we took the additional step to place thank you signs at certified mental health providers and ADAMH Boards across the State of Ohio.

NAMI is dedicated to improving the lives of those individuals and their families who have been impacted by a mental illness.  We believe that education, advocacy and support are vital to that mission.  We also know that recovery would not be possible without the dedication and support of mental health professionals who serve individuals and families each and every day.  They are unsung heroes who illustrate commitment, empathy and humility every day.

*NAMI Ohio wants to also thank all of our amazing affiliates and volunteers whose dedication helped make these deliveries possible.

Meet Our Newest NAMI Ohio Intern, Danielle!

Meet Our Newest NAMI Ohio Intern, Danielle!

Hello, my name is Danielle Smart, and I am very excited to be working with NAMI Ohio as an intern to complete my master’s of social work at The Ohio State University. I received my bachelor’s of social work, with a minor in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, from The Ohio State University. My professional experience includes over six years of providing direct services to clients. I started my career working for a non-profit community mental health center to provide behavioral health services and case management to adults living with severe mental illness, predominately on the west side of Columbus. In my current role, I provide medical case management to people living with HIV, with a specific focus on supporting the LGBTQ+ communities through linking clients with medical services and community resources. I feel that my experiences providing direct services to clients in central Ohio has given me the knowledge, insight, and skills to be a passionate advocate for people living with mental illness.

One of the core values of social work is the pursuit of social justice; specifically, to pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. I feel like NAMI Ohio’s mission aligns directly with this belief, and their commitment to advocating for the needs of people living with mental illness is a service that our communities cannot do without.

I believe that one of the most important roles a social worker can play in the community is as an agent for change. It is vitally important that the people with mental illness living in our communities can access the services that they need. Furthermore, it is equally as important that the professionals providing those services have the support, resources, and visibility that they need to provide the best care possible to their clients. I feel that NAMI Ohio is able to do both, which is the most advantageous way to create sustainable and meaningful change.

I am incredibly excited and grateful for this opportunity to work with NAMI Ohio, to apply what I have learned from my experiences in direct client care to a cause that provides a pathway to systemic changes. I feel like one of the last frontiers for social workers is to be more involved on a macro level, whether that be lobbying, creating policy, or running for political office. NAMI Ohio is an amazing organization that has the ability to take the experiences of those on the front lines of providing mental health care and transforming those experiences into meaningful change that is both lasting and far-reaching.

I am looking forward to not only working on current NAMI Ohio projects but for the incredible amount of knowledge that I will be able to gain to better serve my community in the future.