Helping Families Find Help and Hope

by Pamela Baker, EdD
CEO, NAMI of Collier County

Judy Collins

NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) of CollierCounty has never wavered from its mission: to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families affected by serious mental illnesses, through education, support and advocacy.

Today, our network of supporters has expanded to include mental health professionals and advocates from both the private and public sector. Working together to raise awareness that help is available and to provide adequate resources and support locally.

Our programs and services are provided free of charge to ensure that children, adults, and family members affected by serious mental illnesses are supported in developing resilience and assisted in working toward their recovery.

Ultimately, resulting in their leading productive and meaningful lives within our community. In addition to on-going support groups, highlights of just a few of the innovative programming we offer includes:

  • HUGS (Health Under Guided Systems), a community based children’s behavioral health program that addresses the early intervention of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges for children ages three months to 18 years;
  • THE FLORIDA SELF-DIRECTED CARE PROGRAM, promotes self-determination, recovery, and full community inclusion for people who have a mental illness and who depend on government subsidized services; and
  • OUR PEER-OPERATED SARAH ANN DROP-IN CENTER, a welcoming, supportive, and recovery-oriented refuge for men and women 18 and over.

Oscar Anthony Asmitia, known simply as Anthony to his many friends at the Sarah Ann Center, is a perfect example of someone whose confidence and personality has thrived surrounded by this supportive community of caring peers.

This talented artist brings both empathy and humor into his works, and in April 2017 won Best in Show honors at the Old Naples Arts and Entertainment event, judged by a committee led by the principals of the Harmon-Meek Gallery. Anthony has inspired other Center participants, many who now also enjoy expressing their feelings through art.

On Friday, December 8,2017, we will be welcoming another artist, legendary musician and mental health advocate, Judy Collins, as the Special Guest Speaker at our annual Hope Shines Luncheon.

Few artists have had the 40-year staying power of this music icon, who has reached the highest pinnacles of creative success, with her top ten hits, Grammy nominations, and best-selling books. But even as one of the most gifted artists of our time, she has faced adversity.

Please join us as she shares the personal story of her own battles with alcoholism, depression and her son’s suicide– and finding her path to hope and clarity by breaking down the barriers of helplessness and secrecy that too often surround issues of mental illness.

Please contact us at for more information about this event being held at the Grey Oaks Country Club.

For information on the full roster of supportive resources provided by NAMI of Collier County, visit our website at or call our office at 239.260.7300to arrange a tour.

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