NAMI Northeast Begins Walk-and-Talk Series

NAMI Northeast Region Executive Director Marie Onukiavage met recently with outdoor professionals in the community to connect on a new series of monthly walks to highlight help provided by NAMI while encouraging participants to experience the healing power of nature.

NAMI will collaborate with Ski Shack owner and yoga instructor Melissa Roberts on planning locations and having Melissa offer stress-relieving breathing techniques and guidance on walking trails. Marie met recently with Melissa and Paul Bechtel, Lackawanna County Director of Parks & Recreation, who provided information and input on parks throughout the county that offer beautiful trails for everyone to explore as they attempt to unplug from daily stressors and plug in to the peace and tranquility that exists among the trees and greenery.

NAMI encourages everyone in the community to join them on June 26 at 6 p.m. at Camp Freedom as they highlight men’s mental health and the importance of talking about it openly to remove stigma. NAMI will share information and resources available and nonprofit Camp Freedom personnel will spotlight the many wonderful services they provide, along with leading a walk on their scenic property.

NAMI Northeast PA Earns Leadership Certificate 

NAMI Services Leader Katie Spencer recently completed a certificate in the Leadership Fellows Academy, which is an eight-month course offered through The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of Public and International Affairs and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.  This was offered to leaders of nonprofit organizations that provide peer support services and/or mental health crisis services, and it is the first time this program was offered in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Leadership Fellows Academy (LFA) is a transformational cohort learning experience that seeks to enhance the capacities of the mental health ecosystem across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, leaders, organizations, and communities are especially challenged by a need to be adaptive and innovative to solve the grand challenges of our time. LFA creates a community of such adaptive leaders to face these challenges and feel empowered to work together to expand access to mental health treatment in Pennsylvania.

In addition to a few in-person sessions, over the course of eight months, Katie attended weekly webinars and had the opportunity to work with an executive coach via Zoom every three weeks.  Katie learned about a variety of topics to help her become more effective and resourceful in her position with NAMI in the Northeast Region of PA.  Some of the topics included:   understanding the non-profit sector, building an effective board of directors, program growth and development, conflict resolution, negotiation and marketing strategies, networking and relationship building, influencing public policy and internal policies and much more.  Katie says, “The Leadership Fellows Academy has reignited my passion to help others. Throughout the eight-month program I had the opportunity to build upon my leadership skills and was reminded how unique and important a peer perspective can be. I’m eager to continue to help others battling mental health conditions here in Northeast PA and beyond.”