NAMI Dubuque is an affiliate chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) National. NAMI started back in the 1970s in the Midwest when a group of families came together in support and in advocacy of someone they loved, who had a lived experience with brain and mental health. Since then, NAMI has grown into the nation’s largest advocacy group that has over 600 affiliates nationwide whose mission it is to make the world stigma-free. NAMI Dubuque received it’s nonprofit status in 1996 and was primarily run out of the homes of the founding family members and eventually moved into church community rooms and other available spaces.
At our newly renovated, program center in downtown Dubuque we focus on education, support and advocacy for peers and their families. Our signature programs, support groups, classes, presentations, WRAP (which is WRAP, the wellness recovery action plan) group, public speaking engagements, community outreach, student training and mentor training opportunities are built upon the model of peer support. What that means is that our lens is focused on person-centered approaches where our evidence-based programming is paired down and delivered in a format that someone with an invested interest in the mission of NAMI can become a volunteer and learn to facilitate our material based on lived and shared experiences. We fill a large gap in care because we are supportive in nature and complimentary to the traditional medical model as we are and have made it our mission to be incredibly accessible, approachable, and equitable in our methods of working with individuals seeking brain health management and its important to us to help families strengthen their knowledge and systems on how to navigate a mental health crisis and continue to seek positive outcomes.
In the winter of December 2021, we became an Americorps VISTA host site and moved from an all volunteer-run organization to having a growth mindset and options for program capacity support. In May of 2022, we began exploring options for moving NAMI Dubuque to be become more approachable, equitable and sustainable in our methods of serving the Dubuque community and in about 8 months, we moved from our beloved home in the Millwork Collective/Schmid Innovation Center to a 3700 sq ft new program center. We had our soft program launch in February of 2023, grand opening March 30th, 2023 and just had our second annual fundraiser on April 15th of this year.
In 2022 we served just over 630 people, in total. And so far this year we have served 593 people. Recently we received notification that NAMI National approved our catchment request to take on Jones & Delaware county so now we are NAMI Dubuque serving officially Dubuque, Jones and Delaware county. By Great Give Day we will have launched 4 new support groups, two new art focused mental health programs, with continued expansion plans and have new partnerships in the works.
This expansion project has been very accelerated, very intentional, as our work is crucial, timely, very now and very needed.
At NAMI Dubuque we are creating opportunities for people to invest in themselves, and we are creating opportunities for healing, for hope, for positive treatment outcomes, for better brain health management, for more fluid communication, for more defined understanding of crisis planning, we are creating opportunities for the right kind of education, and if you keep creating opportunities people will take them, because we want the opportunity to feel loved, and valued, and accepted and that’s a large part of who we are, what we do and why.
Thank you for reading and choosing NAMI Dubuque as part of your great give.