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NAMIWalks Westchester raises money for mental health programs

It took place at Ridge Road Park and will help raise fund for the programs that NAMI Westchester provides.

Jade Nash

May 11, 2024, 3:52 PM

Updated 10 days ago

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Over 450 participants came out Saturday for NAMI Westchester's annual mental health awareness walk at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale.
"This is an amazing celebration of people who care about mental health because mental health affects us all," said Marie Considine, the executive director of NAMI Westchester.
Considine said Saturday was the 13th time that the organization has hosted their walk for mental health. She said they facilitate the fundraiser to preserve the programming that they provide.
"NAMI Westchester supports, educates and advocates for people who live with mental health diagnoses and for their families. So, we're very unique in that way," Considine said. "All of our programs are free."
To keep their free resources running, the group set a goal of raising $200,000.
At the walk, some people wrote words of encouragement on the Healing Garden tribute board. Others carried pictures of loved ones who passed away from their previous struggles with mental health.
Jenee Santiago brought a photo in memory of her little brother, Justin, who died.
"Justin is completely my inspiration," Santiago said. "He was 22 years old."
Volunteers like Brianna Ayala said they worked the walk so people know they're not alone if they're going through something.
"I struggle with mental illness myself," Ayala said. "I know people who struggle with it, as well."
Ayala said the overarching message at the walk is that mental health matters. She added that the more people talk about it, the quicker the stigma will be reduced.
"I feel like talking about it…You feel like you're a part of a community, you're together, you're stronger," Ayala said.


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