March4Hope benefit supports NAMI of Southern Oregon

namisoSouthern Oregonians from Jackson and Josephine Counties will lace up their walking shoes Saturday, September 26th to show support to those in the community living with mental illness during their annual March4Hope.

The March4Hope at the Commons II in downtown Medford will benefit Southern Oregonians through National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) programs including support, education and advocacy, said Patricia Garoutte, President of NAMI of Southern Oregon.

Marchers aim to bring understanding and enlightenment to the issues surrounding the care and treatment of persons with mental illness, eradicate stigma surrounding mental illness diagnoses and raise money to improve lives!

Representative Peter Buckley will address the crowd regarding issues surrounding mental illness in Southern Oregon.  Additionally, Judge Pat Wolke of Josephine County will speak about changes to the existing Assisted Outpatient Treatment Law in Oregon.

There will also be entertainment and information tables during the event.  

The NAMI of Southern Oregon March4Hope takes place on The Commons II in downtown Medford between 4th and 5th Streets and Central and Riverside. Check-in is at 2:00 followed by a rousing, but brief, march through downtown Medford beginning at 2:15.

Registration and marching is free, but participants can solicit donations and those who donate $25 or more will receive a March4Hope t-shirt. NAMI of Southern Oregon, an all volunteer organization, hopes to build on last year’s success and to raise $8,000 from this year’s event.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, founded in 1979, has more than 1,100 state and local affiliates that aim to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

All proceeds from the walk will fund NAMI programs in Jackson and Josephine County including family and peer support activities, education and advocacy programs involving schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), major depression, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety disorders.

Programs include Family to Family Education Classes, Family to Family Support Groups, Peer to Peer Education Classes, In Our Own Voice community presentations and the NAMI SO Library located on the first floor of the new Human Services Building in downtown Medford.

NAMI members are volunteers whose mission is to provide help to people with serious mental and emotional illnesses and their families” said Garoutte, “the goals of this march are to raise money to promote our mission and to increase public awareness of these conditions”.

Anyone wishing to receive more information, register or to become a sponsor can do so on-line at March4Hope.org or on Facebook.