Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The Masks We Wear Fun-Raiser Seeks to Educate
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Last year NAMI-WRV celebrated Mental Health Month with a fun bike ride. This year it’s holding a party at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden.
   
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

As the Wood River Valley takes tiny steps back to normalcy, one of the organizations tasked with keeping everyone’s sanity during the pandemic is staging one of the first in-person get togethers.

“The Masks We Wear”-A Mental Health Fundraiser—will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. There also will be an online option.

The first ever such event for NAMI-WRV, the COVID-safe event serves as a fundraiser, educational event to spread awareness about NAMI and an opportunity for people to emerge from their cocoons and have fun.

“Most people, myself included, are excited to meet in person again,” said Brittany Shipley, the executive director of NAMI-WRV. “It’s outdoors so we’ll be able to enjoy one another’s company in a beautiful garden.”

An in-person Appetizer and Cocktail Hour will be held at the garden with cocktails made by Party Animal Vodka and wine and beer from DiVine and Sawtooth Brewery. There’ll be a live and silent auction with the opportunity to bid on such items as a whitewater raft trip from Far and Away and a beautiful painting from Hailey artist Melissa Graves Brown.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to participate in a unique Bingo games where they will seek out people whose names are on the card. Each person they find will be charged with telling them something from how mental health has impacted their live to what NAMI is about.

“Mention ‘NAMI’ and a lot of people don’t know what it means so this is a chance to grab a cocktail have some appetizes, play games and educate oneself a little,” said Shipley.

There also will be a chance to participate remotely by selecting your choice of to-go appetizer and cocktail packages from either the Warfield Distillery, CK’s or Mahoney’s. Those at home can sit down with their food and beverages and tune in at 5:30 to view the speakers from home.

Board President Page Klune said the event celebrates Mental Health Month.

“Our missions is quite important, especially given that we’ve had five suicides within the last 45 days. That’s a strong indication about why we need to erase stigma and reach out in the community and have the discussion and let people know more about what can be done,” she said.

NAMI has several support groups, including one for Spanish. Its Bluebird contingent, which served as a model for others across the country, offers high school and middle school students an opportunity to share concerns with one another and learn good coping tools they can use throughout their lives.

Shipley said the theme of the event, “The Masks We Wear” reflects the fact that some people with mental health issues feel they must wear a mask every day to cover up their illness.

“Idaho is a Right to Work state, which means an employee can be fired without cause for disclosing that they are receiving treatment for mental illness or that they’ve had shock treatment,” said Shipley. “Often people don’t seek treatment because of the expense involved or because they’re afraid of the repercussions.”

The event costs $50 per person and includes the beverages and hors d’oeuvres. For more information or to sign up, go to https://namiwrv.org

 

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