Inside Austin: NAMI Austin

Inside Austin
Sunday, April 16th

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  For Karen Ranus, Executive Director for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Austin, it’s a month to get the word out on mental illness. Karen has noticed a trend: mental illness is not talked about, openly, and it is still whispered about within the community. But to normalize the conversation, would be to spread awareness of the topic, and give an open, and safe, environment to  speak about the issues we face with Mental Health.  

Karen has joined the program before, and this time she came into speak about the list of events, happening weekly in the month of May, for Austenites to come together and speak on Mental Health.

If you wish to see a list of events for NAMI Austin, or get involved with the organization, you can visit


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

There was a time in our community when we expect cancer. Heat right I do remember that. And so I told them you know he still spare that talks. Thanks for joining us on inside us send and Matt Albers I am excited to have our next guest back. You may remember her from our previous shows speaking about mental health awareness I the last one that we had was a holiday blues. By Karen rain this is. With nominee Austin and she's here to speak about mental health awareness month or the month of may Karin welcome to shelf thanks so much for having me back meant. Let's give our audience let's remind them of nominee I'll send them what they do for the community can't. Not me Elson is via. Local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and what we do is provide all kinds of free classes and support groups to the community especially for people who are living with mental illness and then we do all kinds of educational events and training. In the community as well also there were educating everyone around mental health issues. Well and and like you say do you have a variety of resources available. Now what does one way of people reaching out to you ink and a hold of you. So probably they're they're a couple of key ways that they can reach this one is iPhone so our number is 5124209810. They can certainly also Regis come by a email as well seeking just email info at nominee Austin dot org so that's just an AM I Austin dot award. Or he just like to take some of a look at some of the resources we have available we've got a web site that's full information NC just visit the website. At nominee Austin dot org so that's NA MIA Austin dot org. That parent you've been in here before and you've shared a wealth of information. But like we said it is mental health awareness month for Maine and that's just non mosques and correct that's a national multi nationals national. So what can people expect or would pay is because we have months dedicated for everything absolutely and so. I feel like mental health awareness is opt and overlooked. Or. Kept to itself absolutely. So I think it's you know. Obviously from the standpoint that I have I would reference to be talking about mental help all us time and always be raising the awareness. But it really is nice to have a month in which you're really shining the light on mental health more than you do any other time of the year. So it is a national. Dates you've got all kinds of mental health organizations and really try to do their part in and getting the education and information out there. So for us it's I was an exciting time because we try to just do some things that we don't ordinarily do so we try to make sure that replacing ourselves in new. Then use and and collaborating with other organizations or other entities in town. So that we get a chance to bring this idea of mental health and how important it is what an important public health issue it is. Inter community in lots of different ways sometimes fun sometimes serious. But was this idea of raising awareness of the importance of mental health issues and then making people aware of the fact that we're in town. I still go to way too many places where people don't even know that our organization exists that this is a great time to be in those places were people who don't know who we are get a chance to see this so. You know let's go hand in and we'll sort the soft you have. Several events. Come throughout the weeks of may and now we're gonna slowly get thermal. Okay and how but let's start with the first on Saturday may sixth. Children's mental health awareness and get so every year in addition to having this bigger picture of a mental health awareness and month then always the first Saturday of that man is a particular focus on children's mental health awareness. And this is really important because most people don't realize is that. Mental health issues impact children and youth at the same kinds of prevalence rates that they do adults so the numbers are one in five. So we have a lot of kids and teens who are struggling with mental health issues and their families are. So it's really important that we take an opportunity ten shine the light in particular on that. So we've there always is on that first Saturday of the month and this is a very much a collaborative effort. So there's a whole lot of entities and organizations that rally together. The rally actually is cosponsored by the Texas system of care and the Texas Department of State Health Services. And we partner with them and so we start with a rally at the state capital grants and then we make our way we take a little walk over to Aldrich park and we have a whole lot of are just fun events for kids to participate in. And early next part it's a really nice hired him. And we usually get really liking to have a gorgeous day so it's a wonderful day and to celebrating. And I love that this year's theme is called flight to freedom from stigma. So the symbol that they using as a butterfly and so they can actually gonna do butterfly release at the part I'm as part of this event so. I think you know you're gonna see opportunities always to. Even though mental health can be this really serious. Topic I think that it's so important to bringing. A lightness to it. To normalize it to recognize that there's this potential that the more we talk about it the less heavy it becomes. The less that people are getting to that place where they are in serious situations and this is particularly to with kids so. I'm excited that we had to savanna like this that we it was have a bunch of kids that show and have a great time it is such. Our topic I think for a lot of people too wrapped her prince around I think maybe NA and let me know farmer on here being you can stop me but I feel like. It is often overlooked speaking about purity or sex in the schools as Harry frowned upon or at and hardly ever spoken about. Twenty years ago or thirty years ago correct and absolutely ran. I think schools are fairly stern a grass around normalizing. The top four it. Yes absolutely and it's interesting that you say that because I think one of the things that we're doing is a lot of education in the schools. And we are starting with kids in middle school and talking to them about here's the signs you might see. How important is it you see those signs in yourself for her friend that you speak up that you reach out to an adult that you trust. Especially your parents and to share that with them in it's interesting to me how you can see big younger the kids are. The more likely they are to just get really engaged in have lots of questions. So you know I tell those kids all the time when I'm in the school's giving that presentation that believe it or not I tell them there was a time in our community when we respect to its. Pat hates right I can remember that. And so I told them you know we just expire that talks. And that me hat they are really the ones that can change that. And to meet it's really exciting so the earlier we start having those conversations with them I think the more likelihood that we have. A really kind of investing them in the potential for asking for help a whole lot sooner. We know especially with young people there's often a gap between eight to ten years. From the time of their symptoms until they actually get access to treatment until they really get help. In in those eight to ten years a lot can happen so we're excited about that we're actually offering and now some presentations for parents as well. We have a new presentation that we in this is called let's talk had to start the mental health conversation with your team and justice is really accessible place where we say the same thing. Lake start talking about this now my favorites are you tell us about Kristen Bell. The last year came down. It was sharing her own struggles with depression and anxiety. And I loved the story that she told about a month prison nurse and who basically setter down into his inner teens and says hey listen. Depression runs in our family. You're very likely to develop that because of genetics so just know that and here's some things that you might experience and if you do. Just let me know will help people figure it out it's not a big deal. And so she went after college and then sure enough at some point she developed some signs that she remembered her mom talking about and so she reached out got help. And I just thought that was such a powerful story. What if we did normalize it what do we can have that talk. And so that we let teens know that that's completely normal one in five kids this'll happen to set it happens you just common we chatting you know get help. So it's I think it's really exciting and I think it's really important that we make sure that part of what we're doing is spending some time. During this month highlighting the fact that teens and children do you develop mental health issues as you'll see one of the other. I'm just a few days after that we're having another event that we're doing it collaborative Lee with in trickle care in Austin independent school district. Which is this team mental health would you knit community forum. Were were gonna have a panel. We'll have a parent and a young person who had onset of symptoms pretty early in her life. And then we'll have up a doctor and a couple of it's we'll just have an opportunity and it's open to parents teachers school professionals just the general community. Because we're gonna focus specifically around. Teens and what we might see it that agent how again it it's important to start talking about these things early on. Law and I'm just glad that you are definitely going to schools and your letting people know that. It is okay and that there is help available. Yeah and you know it's better tackle it at a younger age or where the first sign the symptoms absolutely well as you know because I've shared my story before that one of the reasons I'm very passionate about this issue and especially around young people. Is that I almost lost my then eighteen year old daughter to suicide six years ago. And I know that one of the things that she was able to tell me later was just that she was too embarrassed to talk about it and she really felt like all of her fans were fine that she was the only one that had a problem you know he. And so. I just think that it's so important you know if I could go back that's the talk I would have had with my daughter and has said this is really common. If it happens to you it runs in my family I mean again I could've had that same conversation that Kristen Bell's mom had with her. And so we really wanna create the potential to equip parents with that ability to have those conversations and for teens to have the information to your face lit up with excitement when you said the yet. Saturday night featuring nominee now stands. Doctors that mr. cow ski. So we didn't sneered ninth two years ago as part of mental health month and if you never Benton or not you should go it's such a fun evening. It's at the north the door and it's free there's no charge to come and they. They can hosts about 250 people in that room and I think the last few that I was there it's a huge space and but it's just this really fun night where they bring on. Three speakers who each get like. Thirty minutes they get the twenty minutes to do a quick talk and then some QNA afterwards and they show it they've got any visuals they can show PowerPoint whatever. And they just talk about a topic that their nerdy about right. And you'd get to hear people talk about all kinds of stuff and Austin public library is always there with books about those topics and his sister really engaging evening. And so on two years ago we had a psychiatrist that spoke. And so I just kind of pinned them again this year and said would you like to do this again because we had a great time and they said yeah. And we're just fortunate it up now with del medical school in our community. Doctors Easter cas key is the founding chair of the department of psychiatry at del medical school and he also sits on an army Austin board. And so I was able to wrangle him to be our nerd for that night and I got seized PowerPoint today and so he's pretty excited about it. He's basically gonna talk about the brain and then talk about its connection to mental illness and so I think it's going to be a really. Interesting that he's also really engaging and funny guy so I think people are really gonna enjoy it. And I think that night there's also someone talking about neuro biology as well so be a lot of brain stuff that night. Let's sounds sounds a lot like a Ted talk on yes exactly it's very similar to that so really engaging fun quick. It's a great group of people and it's a fun night so if that's Wednesday may tenth were looking ports that as well. And if you're just joining us in the you're listening to incite us and I'm Matt Albers and I'm sitting here with Karen Reynosa she's with nominee Austin and were speaking about. The mental health awareness month four of the month of may and within that month nominee is hosting a series of events throughout the weeks Karen. The next one. Wednesday may seventeenth chairing hoping mental health education program for African America for African American communities. Yes so you know you we got a couple of kind of storytelling. Type events and this is the other one so. Sharing hope is actually a presentation that we can do anywhere in the community and it's geared specifically tip for an African American communities. It's we've got a team of people that do this presentation is to storytelling so. It is people who live the mental illness their family members and they just tell their story. And so one of the things that we know is that storytelling is a really powerful way to break down some of the Bay Area years and stigma around mental illness so I share my story with you. And you suddenly see a face of mental illness that you've never seen before right in it surprises you sometimes and as we were talking earlier. It's always amazing to meet it when you tell stories like that. People open up enough say oh wow me me to do right you create a safe space for people can talk about that topic that they usually expire right. And so Schering hope is just gonna be that so we're going to be at the standard joint Anderson senator if you're not familiar with that community health center. It's located on the Houston Tillotson campus. And so we're gonna be providing lunch for the said that it'll just be an hour you know it's an hour long presentations people can command. Grab some lunch visit for a little while we'll do some storytelling and then we'll have some QNA. And then people can get back in their cars and head back to work so be really just kind of dropping in the middle of your day so we're really excited about. Now the next one to come my attention because they cake yet. Saturday may twentieth the press cake shop and as you explain to me before an interview on this is an international. Kind of event yes. So this is on this the idea depressed cake shops actually started in the UK several years ago. And it was just this idea from this baker who had been living with depression and she was in a really great place and wanted to use something that she loved you which is baking to share her story with her community. So she came up but this idea of a pop up bakery. And now they've been all over the UK but then all of the United States as well and last year we hosted the first one in Austin. And had a great time doing it and the idea behind the depressed cake shop is really that. You provide baked goods that are sometimes gray colored so like last year we had these cupcakes at work. They had great frosting on the outside the door when you open them up into the bite. It was all this colorful batter in the middle right who is all rainbow colored. So everything either has an element of gray or sadness but then there's also this color there so what. Really the idea around depressed cake chat is to give people an opportunity to talk about mental health and a different kind of way it's another way. To open up the possibility of having conversations. About mental health. And I think having good Grey's about the reality that sometimes yes when you're living with depression or other mental health issues yes sometimes there can be that level of sadness. But I think having something colored woven in their reminds is that there's hope. Right and that's a powerful piece of bad day so we're still working out the details for this year's depressed kicks up but we are looking at hoping to host that Saturday may twenty yet. For all of these events will have all the finer details posted on our website you'll be able to go to our website at nominee Austin dot org. And we got a tab that says mental health month and then you can visit that tab in recent anytime you look at all the details. So one last one tops it off. Wednesday may 24. OK to say. Women's beaten up on mental health yet are you familiar with the OK to say campaign account yeah I'm not an animal lover listeners to know about it as well so meadows mental health. Policy institute is an organization and that is rooted around policy work in trying to. It changes that we are communities talk about mental health and one of the things that they have invested a lot of time energy and resources into it is developing this statewide campaign called okayed this day. So you can actually visit their website it's OK to say so OK a YTOSA. White dot org. In his system but to stories that people have posted anybody can go their posts a story in a photo. But the other thing that they're doing is a whole lot of community events and I'd been wanting to partner with and here in Austin. So I secured them for that so we're actually doing this is a collaborative event and it's an opportunity then. To do some storytelling for women. On this evening so it's going to be a really fun event. Wednesday may 24 from six to eight in the even humour going to be at the Hyatt regency the tickets are only fifteen dollars and that well. It's you in the door we're gonna have some heavy orders and dessert. We'll have some. But then the best part of the evening is really that it's a special evening of storytelling for women so in particular we've gathered together group of really. Strong powerful successful women. To come and share their stories of living with bipolar disorder depression or anxiety or eating disorders. Because one of the things that we think is again really important is that people understand that. You can have these mental health issues and still be these really strong successful productive people in our community. And we have to remind people that in spite of the fact that the prevalence rates are one in five we don't hear enough storytelling because people are still too embarrassed. So you have some of the strong powerful women that we have on this evening sharing their stories we're hoping that every woman that comes to that and then walks out the door ends and is excited about talking about these kinds of issues in their community. And our big speaker for the evening is Cheryl. Cold she is the former mayor pro tem. And Austin City Council member here awesome so I think a lot of folks may recognize her. And may not know that she was with bipolar disorder. And I found that out just a little over a year ago I had an opportunity to have lunch with her she started telling me her story and I just said wow would you ever be willing to tell the story in the community. Because I think most people would be really surprised discover that you live with bipolar disorder and she said absolutely yes who'd just been waiting for the right opportunity in this is at his. I don't know heightened and and I hope a lot of listeners say great interest into that. Especially in her daily battle with it as yet. And had you live I mean she's gonna share a lot of how. You know she takes good care of herself she knows what to pay attention to and how important that is. And that's not any different than other any other health issue if you live with diabetes you watch which you eat you get enough exercise. You checking your blood all the time it's how you live successfully with the health issue. And that's what these women are going to be sharing is the inspiring stories of how they've done that I'm really excited about this event. The hi I am to nine and now gonna go to the cake thing for sure the press cake shop yeah love treats. And you know I I would love to check out. You know OK to say women's became a prominent house I mean. That's on a personal note. But again. All the information for earlier events can be found on Tommy Haas and dot org that's correct and to get a hold of anyone in nominee Austin. There are phone lines are they always open. We are there just typical office hours case that maybe have any questions you like to reach out if like to get any help or to speak to anyone at any time you can dial 512 Porsche zero. 9810. Again at 5124209810. We can email them. Inflow and nominee Austin out org again that's info lat and a and I Austin dot org. Karen is there anything that you would like to add. Just I really do hope that people will get an opportunity come and join us for even if he does come to one of these events that there is any one of those they're really intrigued you come down and visit with us and then also know that it. You are connected with the organization and or a faith community or workplace. And you see that there's any medium in any of those places where you'd like for us to come. And do you want a presentation for you. And educate your community. Give us a call we would look at that's what we do in the community where great resource so you can call us anytime that you have. Questions about mental health and word access treatment or use and you're looking for a good book to read or any of those kinds of things were there to help you with those things. But we're also. A great resource for educating your community. And so just know that we're available for that that everything that we do in the community around education is absolutely at no cost we can come out and do a presentation for your girl scout troop for instance at no cost them. Well Karen Allen thank you again for joining us on the program. Thank you for inviting me tells me to be here with you. Karen Arenas making sure we no longer whisper mental health and schools this is a sign us and we'll be right.