What a year! With all that’s happening in the world, it’s important more than ever to remember what matters most. At NAMI CCNS, we’ve been busy as usual—educating the community through presentations, helping callers on our Warm Line, hosting dozens of community education events on a broad range of mental health topics, and providing personalized peer-to-peer support for which we are known. All things considered, it has, in many ways, been a wonderful year.
Serving people is our greatest joy at NAMI CCNS. Our clients are, and always will be, at the heart of our mission. We are never happier than when our services benefit whole families—brothers and sisters, parents and children—and it happens more than you know. Susan and her family live in a northern suburb of Chicago. As a teenager, Susan’s son Jess was diagnosed with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder. His illness brought him to the hospital and kicked off a long journey of recovery for him and his family. While Jess was hospitalized, Susan came to NAMI CCNS, scared and confused. She took our signature Family to Family class and learned to understand and help her son. Susan has been active ever since as a Family to Family teacher—and Jess has also gotten involved. In outpatient care, Jess was inspired by our mission and trained to become a presenter for In Our Own Voice, in which people with lived experience tell their stories of recovery to audiences everywhere.
Jess “treasures every minute” of serving NAMI CCNS by telling his story. He and his mom credit us with bringing their family closer together. To Susan, “NAMI CCNS has been there every step of the way for us, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their ongoing support.”
Susan and Jess know that our programs change lives and inspire people to greater understanding. As Jess looks ahead to the coming year, he envisions an organization that will do even more to help people affected by mental illness, who may also struggle with substance use. Jess explains that, in the 12-Step program, addiction is handled with “singleness of purpose”—the primary purpose is to attain sobriety and help others achieve the same. NAMI CCNS works with everyone holistically, with empathy and insight, to provide help and hope to all experiencing mental health challenges, including mental illnesses and addictions.
And what better time for hope than now? Today, Jess is living well in recovery, has finished college, and attends graduate school, preparing to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor. He is excelling in class and can’t wait to graduate so he can give back at a whole new level, using his professional training and lived experience to help others in the best way possible—from the heart.
Please open your hearts generously this season. A gift of any amount will support the completely free services that NAMI CCNS provides in Cook County and its surrounding suburbs. If you haven’t given before, please give today. If you already support us, an increased gift could transform our ability to expand our services and programming. Every gift will allow us to provide additional resources and support to more individuals in urgent need of help and guidance. In the time of COVID, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 40% of U.S. adults have experienced a mental illness in the past year, including anxiety and depression; and mental illness now affects 1 in 3 youth under 18. The suicide rate continues to climb. So please, make addressing this crisis your top priority. A community that cares for its people is a stronger and healthier place to live.
On behalf of our staff, board, and family of volunteers, thank you for your generous support.
Nathaniel Ekman Richard J. DeCleene
Executive Director President, Board of Directors
NAMI CCNS annual reports are always available upon request. If you have questions or have more questions, please feel to contact us!
All articles, information, free groups and all services NAMI CCNS provides are possible because of generous donations from people like you! Please consider donating today! NAMI CCNS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, Nami Cook County North Suburban.