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Christine Michaels, CEO of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania, talks reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness

Michaels joined FOX43's Amy Lutz on May 19 to discuss NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Christine Michaels, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Keystone Pennsylvania, spoke with FOX43's Amy Lutz on May 19 about the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.

NAMI is a nonprofit mental health support, education, and advocacy organization with 31 affiliates across Pennsylvania.

According to Michaels, NAMI offers "support groups for people with mental illnesses and for family members who have loved ones with a diagnosis" as well as educational programs for people in general to learn about mental health and self care. Generally, NAMI aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Michaels spoke a bit about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health and how her organization has had to pivot during this time.

"Before the pandemic, one in five U.S. adults reported having a mental health condition, now it’s two in five or higher," she said. Anxiety, depression and even substance abuse has increased during the pandemic as well, she said. As a result, all in-person support groups, trainings, and educational workshops went virtual.

"People are able to access our services all across the state," she said. These meetings have been a reliable and consistent method of connection and support before and after the pandemic, she explained.

Michaels also shared some ways people can practice self-care. Developing and maintaining a routine, creating and sticking to a work schedule, and reconnecting with old friends and family are some of her tips.

To learn more about NAMI, visit their website.

To hear more of what Michaels had to say, check out the clip above.

Download the FOX43 app here.

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