Support, Education & Hope

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.59.51 PMFor the 1 in 4 who are directly affected by mental illness and those who love them, we make the Thurston and Mason county area a better place to live.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Thurston/Mason provides free support groups and education programs. We fight for improvements to our mental health delivery systems – better access to care, standards of care, recovery, housing, jobs, and rehabilitation.

You can change the way the world sees mental health. Click here to take the pledge to be StigmaFree today!

Empire State Building Goes Green for Mental Health Month!


PAIMI ( The protection and advocacy for individuals with mental illness ) and our very own Marilyn Roberts Hardy

NAMI TM Helps Behavioral Health Patients Hear the Voice of Recovery!

From Inside Providence Newsletter:

Tracy Sorrell and Jami Lifka, NAMI IOOV presenters

Every Saturday morning a team of people from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Thurston/Mason (NAMI) arrives at PSPH’s Psychiatric Unit (1 South) to care for patients and their families. The NAMI “In Our Own Voice” program offers insights, reassurance and hope for recovery from an illness that sometimes carries an unnecessary stigma.

“People enter the room not knowing what to expect, feeling hopeless and scared – frequently eyeing the door for a quick exit. For many…this is their first time in an inpatient setting,” says Jami Lifka, a NAMI-trained, volunteer facilitator of the In Our Own Voice (IOOV) program.

In 2009 former psychiatric unit manager Sarah Benson wanted a recovery-based experience for patients. She contacted Marilyn Roberts, NAMI Thurston/Mason President and they reviewed the IOOV program, established necessary policies and procedures; they recruited volunteers. The program launched and patients and family members responded.

In 2015 NAMI facilitators gave 48 presentations at PSPH’s Psychiatric Unit with 682 attendees, about one-third of them family members.

Facilitators have traveled the road to recovery themselves – lending credibility and empathy to the experience. Attendees hear a first-hand account of living with mental illness. Presenters use stories, videos and discussion to humanize this misunderstood topic by demonstrating that it’s possible – and common – to live well. Participants ask questions, allowing for a deeper understanding of mental health conditions; the experience often dispels stereotypes and misconceptions.

“As a mental health professional who has, for over 30 years, been motivated to fight the stigma of mental illness, it is very gratifying to witness the impact of these presentations on patients and their visitors, be they family members or friends,” says Mike Sullivan, LCSW a social worker on the unit who has observed the IOOV program since its beginning.

Mental illness and its trauma challenge patients, families and the health care community. NAMI’s “In Our Own Voice” program succeeds in its outreach – at no cost to attendees.

For Lifka, the return on her compassionate care is immediate: “Many people approach me after the presentation to thank me and to say that because of my words they are more hopeful for their future, will work to get some level of acceptance and can even see recovery as a possibility. That (attitude) is a huge transformation for people that are in the midst of a crisis.”

For more information about the NAMI “In Our Own Voice” program go to

New Evening Peer Support Group

What is the NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group Program?

NAMI Connection is a recovery support group program that offers respect, understanding, encouragement and hope. These groups are for those living with a mental health diagnosis .

NAMI Connection groups are:

• Free and confidential
Held twice a month for 90 minutes
• Designed to connect, encourage, and support participants using a structured support group model
• Led by trained facilitators living in recovery themselves

NAMI THURSTON MASON a local organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer its NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group two evenings a month beginning April 7. It will be held on the first and third Thursday of every month from 6:30-8:00 pm
In the NAMI TM conference room at ​4305 Lacey Blvd, Suite #28 Lacey WA 98503
The first Thursday will be directed towards those living with Bi-Polar disorder and Depression
The third Thursday is a general support group

Contact: Jami Lifka or Sue Allen
NAMI Thurston Mason
4305 Lacey Blvd SE #28
Lacey WA 98503
Office Phone: 360-493-6021
Facebook: NAMI Thurston Mason

Wednesday March 23 Family Support Group Canceled

My apologies everyone, but this Wednesday’s support group (March 23) is canceled. I’ve come down with the flu and I can’t guarantee I’ll be feeling well enough by Wednesday.

The next Wednesday support group meeting will be April 13. If you’re needing support or are in a crisis now, we encourage you to attend the Monday support group at St. Pete’s tomorrow Monday, March 21 or Monday, April 4.

Take care everyone

Participate in NAMI In Our Own Voice

NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) unmasks mental illness, using speaker stories to illustrate the individual realities of living with mental illness. You gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with mental illness and stay in recovery. NAMI In Our Own Voice can change attitudes, preconceived notions and stereotypes regarding mental illness.
What you should expect:
The In Our Own Voice program and its impact on participant’s lives, in their own voice.  Sixty to 90 minutes long, open to the general public, free of charge.  Led by a team of two trained presenters who are living in recovery from mental illness.  Includes stories, videos and discussion.Why you should attend:
More accurate view of a stigmatized and misunderstood experience. Humanized perception of what people living with mental illness are like. Concrete examples of what living in recovery means. Opportunity to ask questions in a safe and friendly environment.

Whether you have contact with mental illness in a professional capacity or want to learn more on a personal level, your interest and questions are welcome. Your participation also provides a valuable opportunity to the speakers; an opportunity to gain confidence as they share their experience of recovery and transformation.

If you are interested in having a In Our Own Voice presentation for your group, church, organization or agency give us a call at the office 360-493-6021

If you are interested in being trained to do public presentations please contact the NAMI T/M office (360) 493-6021.

Urgent Call-to-Action! Urge the House to Pass SB 5915!

The House Appropriations Committee needs to pass SB 5915 by this Monday, February 29th.

Please ask anyone you have on this committee (see membership list and contact information below) to help see that SB 5915 is heard and advanced. You can add that if necessary, we would be happy if the bill were scaled back to just create a work group to figure out how to best go about implementing the various kinds of fiscal notes contemplated in the bill.

What we’re advocating for is fiscal notes in the area of mental health (as well as corrections and child welfare) that not only tell legislators how much it would cost to implement a bill that affects mental health (such as, say, Crisis Intervention Training) but also what the fiscal costs of not implementing the bill would be – such as increased psychiatric hospitalizations and jail bookings.

(For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, a “Fiscal Note” is a statement of the estimated impact on government revenue (especially pertaining to taxes and the budget) that a piece of legislation or a legislative proposal will have.)

If you want to use and reference The Written Testimony In Support of 2SSB5311, Crisis Intervention Training in your communication with legislators feel free to do so. Crisis Intervention Training is an example of the more precise kinds of cost offsets and avoidance we’d like to see analyzed and provided to legislators. If we had more detailed cost offset information along these lines we could most likely afford to provide more life-saving training than we did last session!

Likewise, legislators would be told about the negative fiscal impacts of various proposed cuts to mental health services –  data we definitely could have used to help prevent cuts made several years ago (and that we’re now paying for several times over).

Please, take a few minutes to call a House Appropriation Member and urge them to pass SB 5915 before Monday. Your voice can make a world of difference.

Thank you!

NAMI Thurston- Mason



Budget documents pertaining to this issue can be found online:

2ESSB 5915 (Sen. Brown), Addressing fiscal notes and fiscal impact statements

House Appropriations Members

Standard email address format:

Representative Room Phone
Dunshee, Hans (D)
315 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7804
Ormsby, Timm (D)
Vice Chair
132D Legislative Building (360) 786-7946
Chandler, Bruce (R)
Ranking Minority Member
427B Legislative Building (360) 786-7960
Parker, Kevin (R)
Asst Ranking Minority Member
421 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7922
Wilcox, J.T. (R)
Asst Ranking Minority Member
426A Legislative Building (360) 786-7912
Buys, Vincent (R) 465 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7854
Cody, Eileen (D) 303 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7978
Condotta, Cary (R) 425B Legislative Building (360) 786-7954
Dent, Tom (R) 411 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7932
Fitzgibbon, Joe (D) 305 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7952
Haler, Larry (R) 122H Legislative Building (360) 786-7986
Hansen, Drew (D) 369 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7842
Harris, Paul (R) 403 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7976
Hudgins, Zack (D) 438A Legislative Building (360) 786-7956
Hunt, Sam (D) 438B Legislative Building (360) 786-7992
Jinkins, Laurie (D) 311 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7930
Kagi, Ruth (D) 308 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7910
Lytton, Kristine (D) 368 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7800
MacEwen, Drew (R) 434 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7902
Magendanz, Chad (R) 427 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7876
Manweller, Matt (R) 470 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7808
Pettigrew, Eric (D) 434B Legislative Building (360) 786-7838
Robinson, June (D) 332 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7864
Sawyer, David (D) 306 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7906
Schmick, Joe (R) 426B Legislative Building (360) 786-7844
Senn, Tana (D) 309 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7894
Springer, Larry (D) 132E Legislative Building (360) 786-7822
Stokesbary, Drew (R) 426 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7846
Sullivan, Pat (D) 339A Legislative Building (360) 786-7858
Taylor, David (R) 428 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7874
Tharinger, Steve (D) 314 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7904
Van Werven, Luanne (R) 419 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7980
Walkinshaw, Brady (D) 328 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7826

March 2, 2016

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016: A New “Peer-to-Peer” Class Begins

Attention all peers!
We are starting up another Peer-to-Peer class that begins on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Peer-to-Peer is a recovery-focused educational program for adults who wish to establish and maintain wellness in response to mental health challenges. The course provides critical information and strategies related to living with mental illness.
Teachers are contact those who are on the waiting list right now, if you are interested please contact the NAMI Thurston-Mason office at (360) 493-6021 or email with your information.  Space is limited to 15 participants.