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Finding Balance- A Different Kind of Resolution

namiwake : February 11, 2019 8:15 am : Blog, Recovery

There are countless statistics on how many people “fail” at their New Years’ resolutions, or give up after a few months of trying. Last year, I had several specific goals for myself, none of which I ended up meeting. One of my New Year’s goals was to run a faster 5k, however, after countless long runs and training plans, when it was time for the race, I simply wasn’t ready to run the time I wanted to run. At the time, I felt like a failure. I even though I had a concrete training plan, I wasn’t able to follow it.

But what if we spent more time emphasizing the process, rather than the outcome? While there is nothing wrong with making goals, it can lead to an “all-or-nothing” mindset, which can be dangerous.

In the past, I used to make goals and resolutions with quantifiable results in mind- but this always led to failure. Now, I see those numbers as being unimportant, even trivial. When I look back on the past year, and the past month, I see the moments when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone- like speaking up at a meeting, or wearing something I wouldn’t normally wear, or discovering a new passion- that made all the difference.

This year, my resolution has been to focus less on creating concrete goals and more on enjoying the everyday moments, as well as continuously striving to improve myself. Today, I left my watch at home while going for a run. It allowed me to focus on the strong feeling in my legs and the crisp February air, and I let my thoughts wander instead of focusing on how fast or slow I was going.  I also was not able to fixate on the time. While I still plan to run a 5k in the near future, I know that my time on the clock isn’t anywhere near as important as the journey it takes to get there.


This post was written by Skye Sarac. Skye is in her second year at NC State studying Psychology and Political Science. Skye is passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental illness through writing and telling stories, and enjoys learning about anything related to mental health. 

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Five Tips for Self Care (that aren’t just manicures and bubble baths)

namiwake : February 5, 2019 4:11 pm : Blog

We hear a lot about “self care” in the media, but what does this phrase really mean? While the traditional stereotypes of self care tends to illicit images of bubble baths and long days spent relaxing, this neglects the many other aspects of self care that can be anything from saying “no” to friends to taking the time to breathe before a stressful phone call.

There are five general types of self care- physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and professional. For example, physical self care could mean moving your body in a way that feels good, while professional self care could mean implementing time management skills when you are on a tight deadline. No matter what, self care will look different for everyone, and some people might take a while to figure out what works best for them. For those who may want some concrete tips, here are a few suggestions for each area:


Physical self care can be thought of as “traditional” self care, and can include movement, proper nutrition, and overall wellness. One of the most important aspects of self care is engaging in movement, whatever form that may take. This article describes several different ways to incorporate movement throughout the day.


Emotional self care, as the name suggests, is all about managing and regulating your emotions- which can seem really complicated. While emotions are wonderful as well as what makes us human- is can be challenging to manage emotions- especially painful ones like anxiety, stress, or fear. This article provides 22 very simple ways to manage painful emotions.


No matter if you have mental illness or not, everyone can benefit from taking care of health and well-being, even if that just means focusing on their thoughts and actions. For those who do live with mental illness, psychological self-care can mean taking medication regularly, or setting aside the time and money to make an appointment with a doctor or therapist.


Whether or not you consider yourself to be religious, spirituality as whole can be a significant and vital part of self care. Even just taking a few moments each day to show gratitude, or to take a quiet moment of reflection can positively impact mental health. In fact, studies have found that any form of self-reflection, whether that is through meditation or prayer, can positively impact mental health and decrease feelings of stress. This website provides examples of different ways spirituality can support your well-being


Whether you work in a corporate office or a fast-food place, work can be very stressful, and it can be difficult to implement self-care throughout the day. However, the ability to set boundaries and learn when to to say no is an important part of fostering a healthy-work life balance. This author explains how she stopped explaining herself for saying no, and how this has greatly impacted her mental health.

This post was written by Skye Sarac. Skye is in her second year at NC State studying Psychology and Political Science. Skye is passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental illness through writing and telling stories, and enjoys learning about anything related to mental health. 

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How Sharing My Story Helped Me

namiwake : January 14, 2019 8:30 am : Blog, Student Support

I remember the days leading up to my first year of college were filled with excitement and nerves as I prepared to leave my hometown to go to a large school that was over four hours away. Just as with most college students, I was nervous about making friends and finding my place, especially because I have major social anxiety as well as depression.

Despite my nerves, I found myself enjoying the first few weeks of college. After that, however, I began to struggle as the result of my illness, and soon found it difficult to function throughout the day. I decided to seek out counseling at the Counseling Center. It helped me to work through some of my emotions and identify how some of the ways I was using to cope were actually harmful to my physical and mental health.

I also was referred to a DBT group, in which I met other students with similar struggles.

When I first decided to reach out for help, I had the perception that I was alone in my struggles, which couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Hearing other people speak about their own personal mental health issues made me aware of just how prevalent mental health issues are among college students, but also allowed me to see just how powerful it can be when people choose to share their stories.

As a Psychology student and as someone who has passion for helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, I am continually learning about how mental illness affects people, as well as how to help people who might be struggling. While as a society we have made significant strides in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness, there are still a lack of stories about personal experiences with mental illness.

I know from my own experience that speaking openly as well as listening to people’s stories is been the most integral to overcoming challenges and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. Even if you aren’t comfortable sharing your story, even just being around others who have shared experiences and simply listening can help foster a better understanding of mental health, and can be a great reminder that you are not alone.

This post was written by Skye Sarac. Skye is in her second year at NC State studying Psychology and Political Science. Skye is passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental illness through writing and telling stories, and enjoys learning about anything related to mental health. 

If you are interested in sharing your story to help make a difference, email and ask about Ending the Silence and In Our Own Voice. 

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Free Mental Health First Aid Sessions

namiwake : November 26, 2018 11:53 am : Blog

The Raleigh Police Department, in partnership with Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, is offering Mental Health First Aid Class sessions. The free, 8-hour sessions will be held once each month from December 2018-May 2019. All sessions will be held at the Raleigh Police Department Southwest District (601 Hutton St., Raleigh). The Mental Health First Aid class will provide insight and skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and addiction.


Attendees will learn:

  • Risk factors and warning signs of mental illness
  • Information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders
  • Action plan to help someone in crisis
  • Available resources

Sessions will be held:

  • Wednesday, December 5th from 8:00-5:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 26th from 8:00-5:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 13th from 8:00-5:00 pm
  • Wednesday, March 13th from 8:00-5:00 pm
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, April 9 & 10, 4:00-8:00 pm (2-day session)
  • Tuesday, May 7th, 8:00-5:00 pm

Anyone 18 years of age and older, who lives or works in the city of Raleigh, may apply to attend. Application information can be found online here.

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NAMI Family-to-Family Testimonial

namiwake : November 14, 2018 5:42 pm : Blog, Testimonial

This story was provided by Krista, a Family-to-Family class member & Certified NAMI instructor. 

November 29, 2016 will forever be imprinted in my memory as the day that launched me on an unexpected and often challenging journey in helping my adolescent son survive his anxiety, depression and resulting self-medication.

While sitting in a business meeting that day, I received an alarming text from my son’s best friend (and girlfriend) letting me know that she was terribly afraid that my son was suicidal. Reeling and in crisis-mode, my husband and I immediately sought emergency care that led to a weeklong hospitalization during what we hoped would be a wonderful holiday season.  Of course, as many families will understand, our journey didn’t start that day.  That day was actually an early turning point after a period of trial-and-error treatments.   At that moment, our safe world seemed irreversibly shattered, and our hopes and dreams for our son, then a high school senior, seemed lost.

After his hospitalization and with the help of intensive therapy, medication changes and the support of family and friends, my son went on to complete his senior year and attend his first semester in college.  That time of transition was fraught with a whole new set of fears and anxieties – on his part and on my part as his parent, trying to guide him through the tumult.  Finally on a cold February day in his second semester, I asked the important question:  is it time to come home?

His return that spring launched us on an aggressive treatment plan as well as his own self-led realization that his self-medicating habits were destroying his life and robbing him of a chance to see joy.

Now, 6 months later, I am continuously amazed that he is happier and healthier than he’s been in years – all while being committed to his new journey.

As many caregivers can attest, the toll of dealing with chronic illness and challenging behaviors can take a toll on the health and life of the caregiver – especially a parent, a sibling or a spouse.  As my son was dramatically improving, my own well-being suffered in the aftermath of the shock and trauma.    That’s where NAMI’s Family-to-Family class became an important part of my own healing journey.  There, I was united with other family members committed to understanding our loved ones’ illnesses, to supporting each other through challenging lived experiences, and to learning how to advocate for our family members and others.

Because of the NAMI class, I realized that above all else, I am committed to shining a light on mental health issues to reduce and ultimately remove the stigma.  That’s why I am thrilled to share my story, to advocate and to help equip other family members to support their loved ones.  Please join me in this healing journey:  Join NAMI.   Participate in a class.  Lean on the comfort of a support group.   In doing so, I believe you will discover that you can use your own lived experience to save or enrich a life.

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Triangle Survivors of Suicide Walk

namiwake : November 14, 2018 12:18 pm : Blog

NAMI Wake and NAMI North Carolina showed support on Sunday, November 11th, for the Triangle Survivors of Suicide Walk. Hundreds of friends and family members showed up to honor their loved ones and raise awareness of suicide.

It was befitting that this event was held on Veteran’s Day, as the suicide rate for Veterans is 1.5 times higher than non-Veteran’s after adjusting for age and gender (VA Suicide Prevention Report, 2016).

If you or a loved one is grieving the loss of a death by suicide, the Triangle Survivors of Suicide has support groups and resources that may help during this time. Find out more through the links below.

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Program Updates

namiwake : September 11, 2018 11:19 am : Blog, Breaking News

Updated October 11, 2018 at 8:52 am. 


Our Garner Family Support Group and Knightdale Connections Support Group will not be meeting on October 11th due to the weather.



The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a–year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Additional resources from SAMHSA regarding mental health surrounding Hurricanes and Tropical Storms


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