NAMI of South Dakota recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

NAMI of South Dakota recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month with 10th Annual NAMI Walks

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May is Mental Health Awareness month and to celebrate, NAMI of South Dakota held its 10th Annual NAMI Walks at Spencer Park in Sioux Falls Saturday. 

NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, provides free classes and support for families and individuals living with mental illness. 

"We formed a team for my brother Kyle; he actually committed suicide in January so we formed a team to come out here and support NAMI and remember my brother," said Ashlie Hurd, a participant at NAMI Walks. 

Saturday's walk was all about raising awareness for people like Kyle Hurd. 

"That's the most important thing is talking about it, don't pretend like its not happening and don't pretend that it doesn't exist because it does and you know maybe, if we would have asked some more questions and maybe pushed treatment, my brother would still be here," said Ashlie Hurd. 

"I do have some loved ones that have been affected by mental illness and the reason for me being a part of this walk is to take a stand for people; I want all people to receive the care and support that they need," said Kari Clark, a participant at NAMI Walks. 

NAMI of South Dakota plays a big role in helping people get the care they need. 

"We have education and support programs for family members and people living with mental illness," said Wendy Giebink, the Director of NAMI South Dakota. 

The organization is also working to help remove the stigma associated with mental illness. 

"We need to recognize that mental illness is there, it's just like having cancer or diabetes, it's something that needs to be treated; we can't as a society, ignore it any more," said Clark. 

This crowd at Spencer Park helped bring that message to the masses. 

"We are out here in Spencer Park today fighting stigma of mental illness, we have almost 400 walkers gathered here, more than 40 teams of walkers," said Giebink. 

"Its hard not to get emotional about this, that people are recognizing and I've done this walk before and seen how much its grown," said Clark. 

"I hope that everyone can see that there is a whole bunch of other people affected by this, it's not just your family and it's not just you," said Hurd. 

If you missed the NAMI Walk, you can still donate to the event online.  This is NAMI's biggest fundraiser to help support its free educational, training and support programs for families and individuals living with mental illness.

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