Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Warmin' Up!!

Hi all!

It's been a very exciting Spring here at NAMI Lexington! We celebrated our 25th Anniversary, we had the Grand Opening of Participation Station and we started the State's first consumer run Warm Line!!
A Warm Line is a non-emergency phone line for people living with mental illness. You can call the Warm Line if you "just need someone to talk to" or you are experiencing a stressful time, feeling cut off from the world or isolated. It is staffed by Peer Supporters who have "been there" and have been trained to offer support, help with appropriate referrals or to just listen without judgment. When you need someone to listen, give us a call! (859) 252-0058 in Lexington or call toll free at:(877) 840-5167 Bluegrass Region.
Phill and Kelly Gunning have been working SO hard on grants lately! If you get a chance, give them a pat on the back for all their great work! They are quite the team!
I'm pleased to announce that Participation Station is a huge success! Since March 2010, 628 people have walked through the door and we have had 52 new programs since we opened in December 2009! WOW! We are still growing! Thank you to my dedicated team of volunteers! Without them, this success would not have been possible.

As for me, I am still trekkin' to Cincy every week. Life is so much better since EMDR! I am doing well, but I am still having set backs. I feel like progress is happening but it's slow going. It's like my wonderful husband says, "You're an onion." I guess he's right. Keep me in your thoughts as I travel this journey...

As the weather gets warmer and the sun starts shining, NAMI Lexington is our beacon of hope!

Thanks for listening...until next time,


Monday, April 12, 2010

We're A MAY Zing!

Hi all!
May is Mental Health Month! Yeah! We have lots of activities planned to celebrate. First, we will have a special presentation on April 19th at 7pm. "Relapse Prevention and Reduction Strategies in Schizophrenia." The guest speaker is Dr. Michael Fuller from Glaveston TX. This will be a great event with refreshments afterwards. Please call Martice at 859-272-7891 to RVSP.

NEXT, May 21st is the Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Participation Station. The Station is a peer operated center that focuses on education, wellness, recovery and fun! If you are a consumer, come visit and get involved. Goto http://psapoc.org for more info and our current schedule. All are welcome to the grand opening.

NEXT, May 27th at 6:30pm we will be celebrating NAMI Lexington's 25th Anniversary!! We will be at Eastern State Hospital in the gym with a night of fiesta, food and focus. NAMIFEST! We will also be viewing the movie"When Medicine Got It Wrong." It is a rivoting film about the history of NAMI and mental illness.

I would love to see you at any or all of these events!

Participation Station is soon going to be offering a Warm Line. This is a phone number that consumers can call in the place of the crisis line if they just need to talk. It will be manned by trained consumers. I'll keep you posted on this one.

As for me personally, I am still making the trip to Cincinnati every week to see my incredible therapist, Dr. Barbara Hensley. I keep thinking that I will be done soon, but something new always seems to pop up that we need to work on. My loving husband is SO supportive of anything I need to do to be in recovery and he drives me up to Cincy every week. God Bless him!!

Until next time America,


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Snow Bloggin'!

So many changes since my last post! Participation Station is up and running! This is a peer operated center for consumers that is led by consumers who are also KY Peer Specialists. The hours for the Station are:

Sun 2:30pm-4:00pm
Tues & Wed 11:30am-4:00pm
Thurs 3:30pm-7:00pm
Sat 5:00pm-8:00pm

We do alot of different things at Participation Station. We have educational classes, a library, computers with internet access and lots of friendships to be made. We do yoga and meditation, we work towards wellness and we work on staying in recovery.

We are currently teaching a Family-to-Family class with 16 students. I think everyone is excited about learning so much about mental illnesses.

Personally, I am still driving to Cincinnati every week for my EMDR therepy. It is very difficult, but I am living through it and I am coming out as a better and healthier person.

Thank you to everyone who attended our NAMI WAlk this year. It was a great success! We had around 1500 people participate this year.

Have a good winter and keep the snow away!! I think a little snow isn't too bad as long as I don't have to drive in it.

Have a good day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Walkin' & Rollin'!

Hi all!! Happy late summer, early fall!! The NAMI Walk is quickly approaching on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at noon. Have you got your team online yet? What about your team's t-shirt? Do you have a great design? How big is your team? Can you get it to grow and be the largest team this year? What about fund raising? Has each of your team members raised $100 so they can get a free NAMIWALKS t-shirt? So many questions...Easy answers! Do you have MORE questions? Just email Phill at namiwalks@namilex.org.

NAMI is so excited about our newest project called Participation Station! It is a peer run center where consumers in all stages of recovery can come to attend a educational class, attend an exercise class, listen to a speaker, or just hang out and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Our mission is to provide a program based environment that educates, empowers and enhances the lives of individuals moving towards recovery and mental wellness. What a great opportunity we have! Thank you Shannon Ware,CEO of Bluegrass, and the members of the Bluegrass Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board for the use of the space at the old Comprehensive Care Center on Mechanic Street in Lexington!

Personally, I have been doing very well. I still have my set backs, but overall I am doing well. I started taking a couple classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and I will be the Director of Participation Station. Whew! The therapy in Cincinnati called EMDR has changed my life! Thank you Dr. Hensley for everything!

We will need lots of volunteers for the new Participation Station, so if you would like to be involved with this awesome new project, just give us a call at (859) 272-7891 or email me at val@namilex.org and I'll hook you up.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Summer

Hi all! It's summertime and as the temperature gets hotter, so does the excitement at NAMI Lexington! We are gearing up for our Walk on Saturday, October 10, 2009. The next big event is the Kick off Luncheon on Friday, August 14th. It will be held at the Fayette County Extension Office in Lexington from 11:30am-1:00pm. This meeting is for anyone interested in getting involved and learning more about the upcoming Walk. Space is limited, so call our office at (859) 272-7891 to RSVP.

My biggest excitement this summer has been that Shannon Ware,CEO of Bluegrass, and Bluegrass Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board has granted us space for a peer support center (drop-in). We are calling it The Participation Station! This center will be located at the Comp Care Center on Mechanic Street in downtown Lexington. The current Comprehensive Care Center will be moving to the new Joseph A. Toy Center on Newtown Pike. We are expecting to have our grand opening on or around November 1st! This center will be consumer-run. This is a huge opportunity for consumers to help in their recovery. We plan to have alot of different support groups, bring in speakers, have art classes, have movie nights, and just enjoy participating in improving our quality of life. We are thinking about being open some in the evenings and weekends, when most consumers don't have much to keep them busy. I will keep you posted along the way as we get closer to our grand opening!

We have had a change of leadership at NAMI KY. Cathy Epperson, retired CEO of Adanta in Somerset, KY, is the acting executive director and we just elected new officers and board members at the Annual meeting this past weekend.

Personally, I have been having a great summer. I am planning on taking a couple of classes in the fall at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, my doctor has reduced and discontinued a couple of my medications because I have been doing so well, and I am almost finished with my EMDR therapy in Cincinnati, OH.

Keep checking back at this website and this blog for allthe goings on here at NAMI. We do alot and our activities are always growing. So stay tuned!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I didn't realize that had it has been over a year since last you heard from me!!! I guess I had better let you know that this has been an exciting year for me. As the Outreach Coordinator for NAMI Lexington, it has been an exhilarating year. Our work began in advocating for the replacement of Eastern State Hospital. The ESH Town Hall Meeting as well as the days spent in Frankfort, talking to the legislators, was indeed a learning experience. In the midst of all that, I got married in April! Wow, the time has really flown...8 months have passed and my husband Ralph is right there advocating with me. We have so many things to be thankful for.
I am looking forward to the Blue Christmas, Santuary for the Soul, that is happening this Sunday, Dec. 21st at 5 p.m. The interfaith service is open to everyone. This wonderful event is being co-sponsored by Central Christian Church, Short Street, Lexington in the main sanctuary.
Along those lines, I would like to share a message that I wrote...


Why so downcast oh my soul? Put your trust and hope in God! Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD sees you through them all! Inspired by Psalm 34

A Blue Christmas, the dark night of my soul is the thought that came to me as I reflected on my journey. Winter solstice is the longest night of the year. Winter sets in and the darkness of being alone, without loved ones you cherished and held dear comes to call. The last thing you want someone to tell you is “Snap out of it! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and pray harder!” Sometimes, it is okay to allow yourself to feel the pain and experience the losses without any expectation.
As a Believer in the Jesus Way, my hope is truly built on His love for me. The only way I can begin to receive His love is when I study His word and see what He has in store for me.
The Creator of the universe loved me so much that He came in the form of a baby by humbling himself and being born in a manager because there was no room in the inn. Rejection…plain and simple…literally from the cradle to the grave…without anywhere to be born or later to be buried; Jesus was clearly my example of how to handle the emotions that come when you are dealing with major life changes.
The longest night of the soul for Christ Jesus, came in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he went to the Mount of Olivet and prayed. He asked Father to take this cup of sorrow from him; yet He prayed, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He submitted His will to Father and died for my sins and yours upon a tree.
Although I have had many dark days due to major depression, my soul is now at peace as I realize ALL things have worked together for my good because I love the LORD, have asked Him to be the Master of my life and trust by faith that I am forgiven!
Prayer: Father, help me to realize today how much you love me and how much you care for me. Thank you for coming into the world and dying for me to have eternal life with you forever. Amen.
It is my hope for you to have a blessed and prosperous 2009! Please support us in the work that still needs to be done for those without a voice...No Stigma, Know More, Know NAMI!!!
Blessings, Yondi and Family

Christmas presents

We have a great Christmas present in the mental health community! Bluegrass MH/MR announced last week that Shannon Ware has been appointed as the new President and CEO of Bluegrass!!! We look forward to working with her to achieve our goal of getting a new state of the art hospital.

As for me, I am getting a Christmas present in the form of the Blue Christmas service that I discussed in my previous post. I look forward to getting away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and "resting my soul" for a little while. We are planning a very special service so I hope all of you can join us.

How about that snow this morning? Snow AND ice I should say. I love to be inside watching the snow and not having to drive in it. Be careful out there! The weatherman is forcasting snow on Sunday for our service, but we will still be there as long as the roads aren't too bad. We'll keep you posted.

I'd like to say a special thank you to all our volunteers who have helped us with all our events this past year. Without you NAMI Lexington would never get anything done! YOU GUYS ROCK!

I would also like to thanks to Kelly Gunning, our Executive Director and "fearless leader" for all her dedication to our cause. Without her leadership, NAMI Lexington would not be where it is today. As part of her staff, I just wanted to say thank you to her for supporting me and all the other consumers out there that aren't able to say thank you because of their circumstances.

Thanks also go out the awesome staff I work with. Angelina, Joy, Yondi, Phill, Mama Faye and Gina make everything run so smoothly behind the scenes.

Alright, I got a bit mushy, but I think it needed to be said considering this is the end of a great year for us.

Always remember with NAMI Lexington, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Merry Christmas and a marvelous New Year to each and every one of you!