Why I Walk. By: Jen Holper, LSW.

I can remember sitting in my social work under grad human development class – during the mental health unit, thinking to myself, “I do not see myself working in the mental health field”. That naïve 20 year old was unknowingly in a relationship with a young man suffering in silence from mental illness. He never felt safe to ask for help, not from me, from his parents, not from anyone. Why? It was because of stigma, which even I was feeding into. Young men weren’t supposed to be weak, depressed; they weren’t supposed to ask for help.

As years passed and our relationship ran its course, we continued on as friends.
He never did ask for help. He ended his life on 3/3/99, leaving behind a daughter, friends, family, and me.

I have now worked in the mental health field for the past 12 years. I work every day to increase awareness, improve access to services, and to decrease stigma.

I walk for all of us. 1 out of 5 people will have a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetime. We all know someone in our life dealing with mental illness and it needs to be okay to ask for help.

Please join team PrairieCare in “De-Feeting” Stigma at the NAMI Walk on
Saturday September 22nd at 11:30am – Program at 12:30 – walk at 1pm
Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis, MN

Join team PrairieCare – https://namiwalks.nami.org/TeamPage.aspx?teamID=284850

Contact Jen Holper at- jholper@prairie-care.com or 952-334-7755 if you have any questions.

Written by: Jen Holper, LSW
Community Relations Representative and PrairieCare NAMI Walks Team Captain