NAMIWalks Your Way: North Carolina fundraiser for mental illness goes virtual

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Each May, during Mental Health Awareness month, the National Association on Mental Illness NC holds a NAMI Walks event at Dix Park in Raleigh, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit.

"Usually, we bring in about 1,500 people," said Lindsey Taylor, NAMI NC Walk Manager. This year, with the pandemic, the fundraiser is going virtual on May 30. Virtual NAMIWalks: A National Day of Hope will allow individuals to do their NAMIWalks their way and stay connected virtually to the thousands of others doing their walks across the state and nation.

"We have some people that will still walk outside, but we have some people that are going to do treadmills, some people who are going to do baking, some people who are going to just walk back and forth on their balconies, for an entire 5K," Taylor said.

Despite going virtual, NAMI NC is raising their fundraising goal, which helps the organization provide important services, free support groups and education programs all year.

"Last year, we raised about $135,000," Taylor said. "So, this year we've kind of set our goal a little higher to $150,000."

According to NAMI, nearly 50 million adults in the United States manage a mental illness every day. WIth the pandemic and stay at home orders, the organization is seeing an increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression.

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"You know this is really impacting them and individuals who just have never had this problem before who are really struggling at this time and that is another reason why we didn't want to push NAMI Walks," Taylor said. "Being quarantined, you know, looking at the news--it's all, it's so much. It's causing this huge amount of anxiety and more so now than ever we know that NAMI is needed. NAMI North Carolina and all of our affiliates are needed more so than ever."

Register for the May 30 walk here.
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