Community Spotlight: NAMI Wilmington helps people dealing with mental illness

Community Spotlight: NAMI Wilmington helps people dealing with mental illness
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:37 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - NAMI in Wilmington is working to help educate and support those dealing with mental illness.

For most people entering college the thought of joining thousands of other students can be daunting. However, the start of a new school year is even more difficult for those dealing with mental illness.

“I know that when I came to UNCW for my first time, I honestly never in 1000 years, imagined me being at a university in the first place as I always thought that that was unattainable for me,” said Laura Hatvany.

Hatvany said when she came across an organization called NAMI at the beginning of her college career, it changed her life. NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

" I found out about NAMI, and just being around other people that also struggle with their mental health was so comforting for me because you feel like you always have to have this wall up for you always have to be around other individuals to kind of try to mask, what you’re going through,” said Hatvany.

Now she is the president of NAMI at UNCW. Hatvany works to educate others about maintaining their mental health while reminding them there are resources available.

She says a simple meeting can make all the difference. Meetings are aimed at surrounding people with like-minded individuals to provide support and community.

“I have a mentor of mine who spoke about how Nami was extremely influential in helping her get back on her feet. And for giving her the community and support that she really needed to be stable in her life, and that was absolutely incredible,” said Hatvany.

Wilmington’s NAMI chapter focuses on the larger community, but the goal is the same to help those struggling with mental health issues. The Wilmington chapter of NAMI has meetings and events throughout the month.

“NAMI is great with the peer support groups that’s really what they are, is peers coming together and sitting and listening and talking,” said Hatvany.

Sometimes we all need someone to lean on, and NAMI can be that shoulder no matter who you are.

“A lot of times people just need you to listen and hear what they say. Ask them what they need, what support they need, and you can find that on our website. You can find that in the community. It is there for you. And no one should be alone in that,” said Hatvany.