Over the past month, Arbour Health System (AHS) has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on three projects to help raise awareness of mental illness.

Arbour Health System is a sponsor for the seventh annual NAMIWalks Massachusetts to be held on Saturday, May 15, 2010, at DCR’s Artesani Park in Brighton, Mass. AHS staff members are encouraged to form a team and participate in the walk. Register today by visiting www.nami.org/namiwalks/ma. For more information, contact Walk Manager Karen Gromis at 781-938-4048.

Arbour Hospital also has sponsored the NAMI Latino radio program which generally airs on two Tuesdays a month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on WUNR 1600 AM. Hosted by Marcos Rosenbaum, the call-in show focuses on topics like depression, domestic violence, addiction, psychosis, medication and how to avoid the overmedication, legal system and diversion programs in the Hispanic community.

On Monday, April 6, Mr. Rosenbaum interviewed Arbour Hospital’s Latino PHP Director Rodrigo Barahona for nearly a half hour (pre-recorded). In the interview, Mr. Barahona spoke about his program, its staff and history; his background and motivation to enter the mental health field; and the mental health pressures that are common and/or unique to the Hispanic community.

One of the calls after the interview aired came from a client of the Arbour Latino PHP who praised Mr. Barahona, his staff and his program as beneficial to her recovery. Mr. Rosenbaum intends to have Mr. Barahona back on the show in the coming months for two to three more conversations on specific topics like depression and medication management.

Finally, Westwood Lodge has partnered with NAMI to add a new dimension to its staff orientation. On the third day of the first week of orientation, new staff view an hour-long presentation by NAMI titled “In Our Own Voice.” Implemented by Director of Education Joan McNeil, the presentation has been a part of Westwood Lodge’s staff orientation monthly since January. New staff view a video produced by NAMI and then have a question and answer session with NAMI volunteers – individuals who currently or previously struggled with mental health challenges.