mental health matters event

Hundreds join NAMI Collier County at 22nd annual ‘Hope Shines’ walk to raise mental health awareness, support

A new location and a rocking musical finale greeted nearly 250 participants at NAMI Collier County’s 22nd annual Hope Shines Walk, which raises community awareness of mental health.

Hosted on May 11 at the Arthrex corporate campus in Naples, the annual event raised over $40,000 on a warm and breezy, late spring day. After walking a one-mile loop on campus, participants were treated to a closing concert by a local favorite, the Ben Allen Band.

“We’re so excited to have so many ambassadors here with us today, removing the stigma and acknowledging that no one is ever alone on their journey,” said NAMI Collier CEO Beth Hatch.

The top participant by team size was Healthcare Network, which attracted 94 employees and supporters to the event. Community and business support of the event included a $10,000 sponsorship from the Zellers Family and Tamiami Auto Group of Tamiami Ford, Tamiami Hyundai and Genesis of Naples.

A special gift of $50,000 from Elizabeth Star was also announced at the event to support NAMI Collier County and launch the Ambassador’s Circle of Hope Program, which brings together individuals and businesses committed to creating awareness and saving lives by connecting people with vital services at their most vulnerable moments.

Proceeds from the charity walk help fund the nonprofit’s no-cost programs to help children, adults, their families and caregivers navigate a mental health diagnosis. The annual walk takes place each May as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. This year, it was scheduled at the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, an additional opportunity to recognize the role that teachers play in mental health.

NAMI Collier County programs include a statewide WarmLine for peer support; the Sarah Ann Life Skills & Support Center, where members may visit five days a week to engage in fitness, art therapy and support groups while learning life and jobs skills; Self-Directed Care; Peer Support programs; and supportive housing, outreach, education and support groups.

Its children’s mental health program, HUGS (Health Under Guided Systems), relies on care coordinators who provide community-based mental health screenings and early identification of Collier County children who have current behavioral health problems (or the potential for developing such behavior) to connect them with resources.

Event sponsors included The Naples Press and Gulfshore Life; WINK News Anchor Corey Lazar served as master of ceremonies.

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