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NAMI-PW President’s Message January 2019


NAMI-PW 2018: Passion and Patience
Over the years, I’ve heard the word “passion” used as a standard for measuring commitment to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I’ve never liked the word. To me, “passion” always meant “intense enthusiasm” applied to all things NAMI. “Who,” I wondered, “can maintain intense enthusiasm for even the best of causes?”

But Angela Duckworth has a more realistic take on the word. She’s the author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” She spoke at NAMI’s “Inspiring Hope Through Research” awards gala last November.

“The common metaphor of passion as fireworks doesn’t make sense,” she writes. “Fireworks erupt in a blaze of glory but quickly fizzle, leaving just wisps of smoke.”

Research into the psychology of passion and perseverance has led her to the metaphor of passion as “compass—that thing that takes some time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and that then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be.” (New York: Scribner, 2016, p60)

NAMI Prince William has always wanted to be part of a society where people living with mental illness can develop their human potential. It has always supported, educated, and advocated
for people living with mental illness and their families, free of charge.

In 2018, building and tinkering with those enduring goals led to:

– Reaffiliation
December: NAMI Prince William was officially “reaffiliated” to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, meeting the national organization’s principles of good governance, ethical practice, and standards of excellence. Though reaffiliation was required of NAMI affiliates nationwide in 2018, not every affiliate achieved it. With hundreds of hours of meticulous “tinkering” throughout the year, NAMI Prince William did achieve it.

– Outstanding Affiliate Award
June: NAMI Prince William was awarded NAMI Virginia’s annual “Outstanding Affiliate Award.”

– Potomac Health Foundation Grant and Novant Health UVA Health System Grant
September: along with the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action (HOLA), NAMI Prince William received a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation to raise awareness of mental health conditions and increase help-seeking behaviors in the
Latino community of eastern Prince William.
December: NAMI Prince William and HOLA received a grant from Novant Health UVA Health System to extend their mental health goals into the Latino community of middle and western Prince William.

– Go Green for Mental Health Walk / Fun Run Success
October: 70 people gathered under threatening skies at Novant Health Prince William Medical Center in Manassas for the annual fundraiser that more than doubled revenue from the 2017 Go Green Walk. This new year offers opportunities for you to “build and tinker with” the thing we all want: better lives for those with mental illness. Below, NAMI Prince William board member Pat Victorson describes how you can help:

“You voted for your legislators. Now, it is time to advocate for your issues. As a member of NAMI, support for mental health legislation and funding is surely at or near the top of your list of concerns. It is crucial that the delegate and senator representing your district know that his or her constituents care about mental health. Here are some suggestions for making sure your voice is heard.

• Know your legislators and how to contact them. If you live in Prince William County, find your federal, state, county, and school board representatives by going to: Enter your home address and click on “elected officials information.” If you live in other localities, go to:

• Learn how to share your story effectively: If you would like help with or feedback on your story, please contact Pat Victorson ( or Bonnie Cuppett (

• Consider meeting with your legislator before the General Assembly session begins in January. Call to make an appointment or plan to attend a town hall meeting. Meeting with your legislator’s assistant or chief of staff can be just as effective as meeting with your legislator in person. If you are pressed for time, send a personal email or letter briefly telling why you are concerned about mental health issues and letting your legislator know that you will be following mental health budgeting and legislative bills in the coming session.

• Pay attention to NAMI Virginia’s legislative updates. When requested to contact your legislator on a specific issue, NAMI Virginia will usually provide an explanation of the issue and a template for a reply. Please send a personal email in your own words to tell how the issue impacts you as a constituent. Legislators and their aides pay more attention to individual responses than to form letters or petitions.

• Attend a state budget hearing. The Northern Virginia hearing will be held at the Fairfax County Government Building on January 3, 2019, 10 a.m. To be able to speak, you must sign up by 9 a.m. If you would like more information or help in formulating your presentation, please contact Pat Victorson (

• Attend Mental Health Advocacy Day in Richmond, Tuesday, January 29, 2019. More information will be provided in January. Carpooling opportunities may be available”


Best regards,

Marjorie Antus, President


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