Sarah is a member of the NAMI CI Board of Directors and is sharing her story. We hope that her experience will inspire others to join the NAMI Walks event this year on September 24. Our team name this year is Stepping Out of the Shadows. Click here to register to walk with NAMI Central Iowa!
My name is Sarah Carraher, and I have lived with mental illness for ten years. The NAMI Iowa walk is coming up this Saturday September 24th, and I wanted to share about a previous experience that I’ve had. Several years ago I was struggling with my mental health, but it was hard for me to be open with others about what was happening because I was battling the stigma that so many of us face. I discovered NAMI, and was so grateful to have an organization that worked hard to provide education and support for people like me.
When I heard about the walk, I decided to take this opportunity to raise awareness of not just my own battle, but to also advocate for my peers. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to participate, and he was very supportive. When my parents and mother-in-law heard what I was doing, they wanted to join. Though I was scared, I shared pieces of my story on Facebook, and explained the great work that NAMI was doing. I asked friends and family to support me as I took a stand for quality mental health care and promoted the great programs NAMI had to offer the community.
The response was overwhelming, and I had so many people not just donate to the cause, but offer words of encouragement. I was part of the NAMI Central Iowa team “Stepping Out of the Shadows”, and it was an amazing feeling to walk with my family and people in my community who struggle with mental illness and their loved ones. We all had different stories, but we had a common goal of ensuring that free NAMI programs continued to be available to provide help and hope to those in need. NAMI has been such a blessing in my life and it has the potential to benefit so many people. I encourage everyone to be a part of this great event!