NAMI Lane County, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has opened its new base of operations in downtown Springfield, offering weekly programming and support groups for anyone who struggles with mental illness, or for their family members.
The new Resource Center has been operating online since opening in 2021, but is now fully open for in-person programming and resource use. And later this summer, the organization is partnering with multiple local organizations, including Homes For Good Lane County and the Eugene Police Department, to put on events for mental health awareness.
Jennifer MacLean, the executive director of NAMI Lane County, says the group’s move has created a home base to provide their services and resources locally and nationally.
“It’s easy access for anyone,” she says. “We have people on Zooms from Arizona, Washington, even Canada.”
All the support groups offered by NAMI, including those for adults living with mental illnesses and support groups for family members of people living with mental illnesses, are free, confidential and peer-led.
Aside from support groups, NAMI also facilitates multi-week educational courses, seminars and family-to-family connection events.
Additionally, any community member, whether living in Lane County or not, can use the Resource Center’s library, where mental health support materials can be checked out for three weeks at a time, or the Clothing Room, which supplies clothing and hygiene products to those in need.
The local NAMI office also provides free food for its clients through a partnership with FOOD For Lane County.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has 1,600 locations nationwide, including 14 in Oregon.
Any individual struggling with mental illness can get help from NAMI, even without a professional diagnosis. Although MacLean highlights the benefits of the in-person classes and programs, she notes many of them are still offered online for anyone to access.
“We’re here for you,” MacLean says, referencing the availability of NAMI’s programs. “Anything you need, we’re here to help.”
In September, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is hosting an “Out of the Darkness” event and community walk for suicide awareness and prevention. The event features booths and speakers, one of whom will be MacLean. The walk and accompanying event are Sept. 25 at Alton Baker Park.
“It’s an awesome event,” MacLean says. “This is the first year it’s happened fully in-person, and we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
NAMI Lane County is at 129 9th Street, Springfield, and is open 10 am to 3 pm Monday through Thursday for walk-ins or anyone seeking more information. Additional information on the programs and classes offered can be found online at “NAMILane.org.”
More information on how to register for the Out of the Darkness event can be found on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.