The coffee, orange juice and eggs were self-serve as the 43rd annual Legislative Breakfast went virtual this year. Actually, the Zoom format was fortunate —not only did it remove travel constraints to advocates in the far reaches of the state, but the organizers would have been hard pressed to accommodate the close to 700 registrants for an in person event.

Early this past Saturday morning , NC Legislators, mental health professionals, and other individuals interested in mental health convened to discuss the challenges of managing mental health during a pandemic, supporting the most vulnerable of our population, and other behavioral health issues that need to be addressed in our state.

There was an impressive line up of speakers including Governor Roy Cooper, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Dr. Mandy Cohen, DHHS Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health Kody Kinsey, and various state Senators and Representatives. The Legislative Panel (pictured above left) addressed many issues, and urged their constituents to contact them to make their opinions and needs heard.*

NAMI NC, a sponsor of the event, is especially proud of long time NAMI member, Peer-to-Peer Mentor, Support Group Facilitator, and former NAMI Orange Board member, Donna Carrington (pictured above right). Donna spoke passionately about her own experience with Mental Health and closed her talk with the following beautiful quote by J.M. Storm:

She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery, put back together by her own hands. And a critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.

Donna is currently the Executive Director of Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a non-profit organization in Durham and Orange Counties. What an advocate and inspiration for us all!

Thanks to all who participated and kudos to Jenny Gadd and her team for organizing this worthwhile event. You can look to their website for additional details and any available event information in the future.

(*NAMI NC is available to support North Carolinians wanting to effectively tell their stories and help make their voices heard. Email our Director of Public Policy, Ashish George at or call 800.451.9682)