Breaking the Stigma at NAMIWalks NYC - National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City , Inc.

Breaking the Stigma at NAMIWalks NYC

Andrea’s journey with mental health advocacy is rooted in relationship to her father, who struggled with schizophrenia. “If any one person can be spared from the tragedy and trauma that my family experienced, if one person can have some awareness that there are resources, that there is help, without feeling hopeless, that’s what’s important to me and why I’m so involved,” Andrea shared.  

She recalled the challenges her father faced, who was in and out of psychiatric hospitals throughout her childhood. “The few times I did see him he had just been given medication without therapy, so there was unfortunately no kind of help that was given to him,” she said. 

Her father’s untreated mental illness led to an unimaginable tragedy. Andrea recounted, “He had a psychotic break, and killed his mother, my grandmother. After that, he was arrested, went to jail, and was declared insane at trial. He spent the rest of his life at a psychiatric center for the criminally insane, and still never got the help he needed.” 

Despite these incredibly trying times, Andrea found solace and purpose through NAMI-NYC. Last year, Andrea participated in the NAMIWalks NYC + Mental Health Street Fest for the first time. Her favorite part of the event was the sense of community and shared purpose among participants. “There was so much comradery among the vendors, speakers, and walkers. Everybody was like, ‘We’re in this together!’” Andrea shared. 

This year, Andrea is determined to raise even more funds and awareness for NAMI-NYC. “Last year, I said ‘You know what? Next year I’m going to raise more money.’ So that’s what I’m trying to do now,” she said.  

Join us for NAMIWalks NYC + Mental Health Street Fest on Sunday, May 19. Register and kick off your fundraising today: