We could all use a little respite from everything going on right now but some perhaps more than others need your ear, your voice and your support for the struggles of depression, stress, anxiety and any mental health illness or battle.

RWJ-Barnabas Health is joining forces with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for the annual 'NAMIWalks Your Way' New Jersey fundraiser to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma that comes along with it and asking for help.

That the stigma attached to someone with a mental health issue makes getting help more difficult.

"On top of having an illness, there's a lot of stigma associated with having that illness, regardless of what level," Deanna Sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President and Chief Executive Officer, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, who will also serve as chair for the walk, tells 92.7 WOBM News.

Have you ever had that conversation with someone and they quantify their illness to make you feel like what you're going through isn't that bad?

Everyone needs help sometimes and that's another driving force behind the annual fundraiser.

"There's really no marker or measurement to the severity of illness when it comes to mental health issues," Sperling said. "Someone suffering with depression could really be immobilized, even a mild depression impacts peoples lives and their quality of life."

The Covid-19 pandemic has been draining on a lot of people for a lot of reasons including those struggling with a mental health illness or those who now need help because of it.

This walk will also help you if you need it including if it's because of the coronavirus.

"We're all struggling with how we're reacting to isolation, illness, grief and loss," Sperling said.

It's more important than ever, Sperling explains, that we all come together and help each other.

"We have seen an increased need for comprehensive behavioral health needs," Sperling said.

NAMIWalks is looking to raise $158,000 in funds to support their continued mission of advocacy, education, support and public awareness.

The walk is open to everyone and will feature a number of ways to participate including walking 3,500 steps for a 5k Your Way, planning a craft day, holding a virtual bake-off, practicing self-care with a favorite hobby, doing a 5k on the treadmill or stationary bike or hosting a virtual paint and sip party.

The walk will also be Live streamed from 10am to 3pm and you are encouraged to post pictures, videos and posts of their activity to social media using the hashtags #NAMIWalksNJ2020 #NotAlone and #MentalHealthForAll.

To register and learn more about NAMIWalks Your Way New Jersey fundraiser please visit www.namiwalks.org.

To speak to a clinician or learn more about the mental health resources offered through the RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center and Network call (800) 300 - 0628.


You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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