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History of NAMI Delaware and Morrow Counties

When my daughter became ill, I needed help understanding what was happening with her and our family. I needed help coping with the overwhelming pain and grief.  I found NAMI Franklin County where I attended a Family to Family class. Even though this was a fifty-mile drive home late at night for me, I couldn’t wait for each class. I found this class more helpful than I can describe.  Around the table were teachers, physicians, attorneys and nurses and all of us were struggling with how to help our loved and how to cope with our emotions. Upon completing this class that helped me so much, I knew I wanted to bring this program to Delaware and Morrow Counties to help other families.

In 2006, we offered our first community event, a special presentation by Dr. Fred Frese, Ph.D., a psychologist who specialized in the area of schizophrenia for over forty years and a former NAMI Board Member.  He was diagnosed with the condition himself at the age of twenty-five.  The event was held in February and attendance was very poor due to the day’s winter snow storm.  I was very disappointed with the turn-out; however, this did not deter my mission.  

I continued to meet with staff at NAMI Ohio and they helped me get my first F2F class off the ground.  Our first class was held in the basement of a church in downtown Delaware. We had to carry our supplies, books, refreshments up and down stairs every meeting.  We held classes there for several years.  Three members of our very first F2F class are still very involved volunteers and help to facilitate our programs.

After a few years and with the support of one of our volunteers, Safe Harbor in Delaware offered us a free meeting space.  We were thrilled because we could store our materials in a supply room and not have to carry them every week.  We continued with our F2F classes there for several more years.  From these classes, one of our participants started our Connection Recovery Group.  Later, another volunteer started our Family to Family Support Group.  And yet another volunteer developed our website and so it goes.

Here we are ten years later and our affiliate continues to grow.  Thanks to funding from the Delaware and Morrow County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board we moved into our own office space in December of 2016.  Having our own office was monumental.  We introduced three new NAMI signature programs in 2016 (Peer to Peer Classes, Ending the Silence, and BASICS Classes).  We helped to reduce stigma and bring mental illness “Out of the Shadows” by hosting a NAMI Ohio sponsored event in downtown Delaware.  We offered educational presentations for the community and provided family and consumer speakers for various events.  

In 2016, we met NAMI National’s reaffiliation compliance standards and were approved as a “model” small affiliate.  With the hard work of our dedicated and committed volunteers we will continue to grow here in Delaware and Morrow Counties and help to improve the quality of life and ensure dignity and respect for persons with serious mental illness, and offer support to the people who love and care for them.

Becky Becker, President

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