Golf tournament raises awareness of mental illness

Golden Era Golf Course sponsors NAMI Mt. San Jacinto’s inaugural golf tourney

Photo by Brenda Scott
Don Windham, vice president of NAMI Mt. San Jacinto’s board of directors and one of the tournament planners.

■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter

Mental Health got some attention last week as National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Mt. San Jacinto held its inaugural golf tournament, hosted on the pristine greens of Golden Era Golf Course. About 40 people participated in the May 19 tournament, including Banning Mayor George Moyer and Banning Councilmember Art Welch.
NAMI Mt San Jacinto’s Executive Director Brenda Scott has been planning the tournament since November 2016 with board President Mark Faber and Vice President Don Windham. Event proceeds go to support mental illness awareness and free educational courses offered by the Mt. San Jacinto division. Scott stated that she promotes the “importance of mental health education and aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.”
The organization’s goals include: advocating at the county, state and national levels for non-discriminatory access to quality healthcare, housing, education and employment for people with mental illness; educating the public about mental health conditions; eliminating the stigma and discriminations of mental health conditions; and advocating for increased funding for research into the causes and treatment of mental health conditions.
NAMI offers a family-to-family class “educating family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses.” It is a free 12-week course taught by trained family members. More than 300,000 family members have graduated from this national program, according to NAMI. Some courses are also available in Spanish.
NAMI Mt. San Jacinto and San Jacinto Unified School District board member Jasmin Rubio stated that she was “very happy and grateful that people from Banning and Jurupa were there supporting NAMI. They took the time to support Hemet and San Jacinto. NAMI is like a flower blooming out here right now.”

Photo by Brenda Scott
Golden Era Golf Course General Manager Linda Greilich and President of NAMI Mt San Jacinto’s Board of Directors Mark Faber.

“This isn’t just about education,” said Rubio. “It’s about changing lives.”
Other programs offered by the organization are peer-to-peer and monthly educational meetings. The Hemet Family Support Group meets the second Thursday of every month at ANKA Behavioral Health, located at 102 W. Main St. in San Jacinto from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
“Using the support group model is so essential to the success of our family support groups,” according to its website. “Without the training, networking, and support of the group members I fear that support groups would become nothing more than “cry” sessions or “gripe” sessions. As a group, the collective wisdom covered a lot of possibilities towards the issues.”
Currently, monthly meetings are held at Spirit of Joy Church located at 1326 Johnston Ave. in Hemet on the fourth Monday of the month from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
The organization is also gearing up for its 12th annual NAMI Walk on Oct. 28 at Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet. The organization usually raises about $100,000 with the proceeds going to six affiliates that fund the free programs provided to the community.
Past honorary chairs of the walk include Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington, Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa and California State Senator Jeff Stone (R-28), when he was Riverside County Third District Supervisor.

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