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NAMI of Greater Toledo holds kick-off event ahead of annual May walk

NAMI of Greater Toledo hopes to raise awareness about mental illness and inform the community of all the resources available.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The need for mental health awareness in our state is at an all-time high. 

According to the Ohio Department of Health, suicides in Ohio are up 45 percent from 2007 to 2018 and up 56 percent among kids ages 10 to 24. 

In Lucas County, one in five people is afflicted with some form of mental illness, according to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Greater Toledo. 

Just last week, Gov. Mike Dewine said that Ohio is having a ‘mental health crisis’. He outlined a plan that raises awareness about warning signs and risk factors of suicide.

"There is a direct correlation between those," said NAMI executive director Robing Isenberg. "Mental health, mental illness is really the biggest risk factor for suicide and if we can address mental illness and get folks linked up with treatment, we can actually prevent suicide."

NAMI of Greater Toledo is trying to push as many resources out as possible and raise awareness about mental health in the Lucas County area. 

On Thursdsay they are hosting a kick-off event for their annual NAMIWalk on May 9. 

The kick-off event is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Thomas M. Wernert Center in Toledo. 

There will be free pizza as well as the opportunity to learn more about mental health resources available in the area. 

You can also learn more about the NAMIWalk. All are welcome!

"All the money raised for our walk - which it's actually a fundraiser, but it's also the largest community awareness event we have here in Lucas County centered around mental health - all the funds we raise from that walk will stay here at NAMI of Greater Toledo to provide the ongoing programs we have for support education, advocacy and for mental health here in our community," Isenberg said. “The great part about NAMI's resources is that mental illness is treatable and you do that by taking medications and going to your therapist and what not, but no one can really recover if they don't have support services in place. That’s where NAMI comes in. NAMI provides those support services to help folks along the journey to recovery."

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available. You can always call 1-800-273-8255, or visit NAMI's website for more information.