NAMI Wilmington is enjoying a resurgence. Although the affiliate was essentially inactive a few years ago, Executive Director Chuck Eldridge was determined to breathe new life into the organization. Board President Doug Engelman credits Mr. Eldridge’s tireless dedication for NAMI Wilmington’s thriving programs and upward momentum.
Today, NAMI Wilmington runs seven peer support programs, including Connection groups, a young adult support group, and a senior support group. They also offer Family Support groups and Family-to-Family courses. NAMI Wilmington boasts a robust volunteer program, having grown their list of facilitators from four to 25+ in the past 18 months. In addition to these many ongoing programs, the leadership team at NAMI Wilmington is excited to have launched 3 new self-sustaining peer support groups in underserved communities. They have also dedicated themselves to the community with an active CIT training program.
One of NAMI Wilmington’s standout programs has been the NAMI on Campus at UNC-Wilmington. Dr. Engelman, a UNC-Wilmington professor and the NAMI on Campus faculty advisor, states that the chapter’s recent growth is due to dynamic student leaders revitalizing the chapter’s presence on campus. Students are not only serving other students on campus with awareness and support programming, but they are also developing connections with the surrounding community for a bigger impact. For example, the chapter, with the support of the administration is in discussions with Novant Health to have Novant establish a more robust presence on campus, making their services more accessible to the student population.
“If I could encourage other affiliates to do anything, it would be to reach out to high schools and colleges,” said Engelman. “Students are the future of NAMI – we need to find ways to get them involved.”
For more information about NAMI Wilmington and their UNC-Wilmington NAMI on Campus chapter, visit their website.