NAMI Collier County Receives Grant to Help People with Mental Health Diagnoses During COVID-19
NAMI Collier County is a local non-profit that provides services to those affected by mental illnesses. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have closed their offices to the public, but are still safely working from a distance to help their members with support, groups, peer services, and food. On March 30th, Trinity-by-the-Cove church chose NAMI Collier as the recipient of a generous emergency grant to address the need for food in the community. Since many people with a mental health diagnosis live on fixed incomes below the poverty level, they rely on food pantries and community resources to subsidize their basic needs. For those families who care for one or more children with social, emotional, or behavioral challenges, the added challenges of school being cancelled while needing to provide meals throughout the day can also add to heightened stress levels.
The goal of the grant is to provide ongoing food support that is delivered, without contact, directly to the doorsteps of the families and people who typically engage with NAMI Collier’s various programs. Last year alone, the Sarah Ann Drop-In Center had 7,241 visits and the HUGS Children’s Program helped over 400 families navigate the system of services for their children after completing over 2,200 screenings throughout Collier County. Following the social-distancing guidelines during this crisis, many of these people are now left with exacerbated symptoms of depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
NAMI Collier has already delivered food to 74 people and will continue to do so until the crisis endsand it is safe for people to ride public transit to visit food pantries. Using precautions like gloves and masks, staff members are putting together cases of canned goods and other staples, bags of healthy kids’ snacks,and fresh produce obtained from a partnership with Meals of Hope.
Just as the need for food is vital for the NAMI Collier community, protecting their mental wellness is also a top priority. NAMI Collier is holding support groups via Zoom, doing daily check-in phone calls with members, posting coping skills and helpful information on their Facebook page, and continuing to answer their main phone line to help with resource and referral information. The overall feelings of isolation, anger, grief, and fear that are being discussed daily in those groups reflect what many in our community are feeling throughout this unprecedented situation. The act of delivering care package is not just about the food. It shows people that someone cares and is thinking about their well-being.
If you or someone you know is in need of someone to talk to, or need information about mental health, please contact NAMI Collier County’s main office at (239)260-7300. For helpful tips and coping skills, please follow their Facebook page, NAMI Collier County. To make a donation to help their ongoing efforts or to support one of their programs, visit www.NamiCollier.org and use the ‘Donate’ button located at the top right of the homepage or mail a check made payable to NAMI Collier at 6216 Trail Blvd., Bldg C, Naples, FL 34108.
Pamela Baker, Executive Director (239) 671-8646
NAMI Collier County
6216 Trail Blvd, Bldg C Naples, FL 34108