NAMI Collier Offers a Safe Place for Adults with Mental Illness

Tucked away in North Naples is a warm, accepting, friendly environment called the Sarah Ann Drop-In Center. Named for NAMI Collier’s founding member and her daughter, it serves adults over the age of 18 with a mental health diagnosis and provides support groups, socialization, outings, meals, exercise, and many opportunities for friendship.

The Center is managed and operated by those with lived experience of mental  health diagnoses or who have a family member with a diagnosis. In a world filled with stigma and misunderstanding about mental health issues, NAMI Collier is dedicated to providing a safe haven for the members.

In the words of members, “It’s the only place I can be myself.” “I actually have friends here!” “The support I have here has
changed my life.” “Before I came here and learned the coping skills I now have, I used to go to the crisis unit anytime I felt
overwhelmed. I didn’t trust myself. But now, I have a support system to reach out to. It’s life changing.”

When you visit the Center, you will find people actively working on their path toward wellness, whether that is by playing
piano to calm a racing mind, having a conversation with a new friend, exchanging resources in a support group, or digging out
in the garden to soothe anxiety. A full calendar of events keeps members busy, engaged, and motivated to keep coming back.

Members also embark on outings twice a week to be able to enjoy parks, beaches, movies, shops, and places they may not have easy access to via public transit or because of financial constraints. All activities are designed to promote wellness. The Sarah Ann Drop-In Center offers opportunities for involvement and leadership that builds skills to empower members. Workshops focus on topics that improve quality of life including healthy boundaries, money management, healthy living, inspirational speaker series, and art therapy.

To ensure that members have their voices heard about the way the Center is run, a Peer Advisory Council Team has been created with governing officials and council members. They vote on issues such as groups, activities offered, strategic planning, member safety, and rules.

Funding for these programs comes from state funded grants and private donations. This year, keeping all programs running
as scheduled, outings continuing, and services available has been particularly challenging due to the cancellation of a Spring event that was budgeted to bring in at least $70,000. Without the replacement of those dollars, we may be facing cutbacks to our
busy schedule of events and subsequently impacting members sense of routine and normalcy.

The impact the Center has on the over 7,200 visitors it has each year is immeasurably positive. With the help of generous donors,
talented volunteers, and community partners, NAMI Collier will continue to expand programming and grow with the needs of
our local community.

Tours, questions, and referrals are always welcome. Donors can be confident that their generosity will make a huge difference in the lives of the members of the Sarah Ann Drop-In Center.

Any interested donors can visit www.namicollier.org to learn more about NAMI Collier’s programs and to use the Donate
button at the top of the page. Checks can also be mailed to: NAMI Collier County, 6216 Trail Blvd., Bldg C, Naples, FL 34108.

About NAMI Collier
NAMI Collier’s mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by serious mental illnesses through support, education, and advocacy. By providing support and compassion, NAMI helps guide people on their path toward recovery by linking them with resources, facilitating support groups, and utilizing lived-experience as common ground to build lasting relationships. NAMI fights to raise awareness and to destigmatize mental health issues.

The Sarah Ann Drop-In Center is located north of the corner of Pine Ridge Road and US 41 North, on Trail Blvd., opposite the
Waterside Shops; Red bus line Route 1B. For additional information on the National Alliance on Mental Illness Collier County, contact Kristin Long, Director of Development, at kristin@namicollier.org, (239)260-7302, or visit www.NAMICollier.org .

 

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