NAMI Walks: Changing minds one step at a time goal of Saturday’s 5K

More than $166,000 was raised in last year’s walk, and this year’s goal is $200,000. 

NAMI VC programs help families, educators, law enforcement and health care professionals understand mental illness.  

June is confident the female deputy who “asked the right questions and showed the most concern,” and finally dealt with John was Crisis Team Intervention trained, a NAMI program for law enforcement on how to recognize and deal with those experiencing mental illness.

Following John’s breakdown, June was referred to NAMI’s Family-to-Family program, a new concept in education for those affected by serious mental illness and addictive disorders. 

Created by experienced family members and mental health professionals, the program is taught by specially trained family members of those with mental illnesses. 

Participants learn everything from normal reactions when mental illness strikes a family and different mental illnesses to getting through a critical period and advocacy.

The 12-week program also covers self-care and how those with mental illness in their family can balance their own lives.

June didn’t know what to expect, but said she was pleased with the program, where she not only gained knowledge but also got to know others with similar experiences and challenges. 

“I understand what occurred with John more now,” and June has gained insight into mental illness, knowledge that has made her more confident.

“I now know what to do ,” said June, “if it happens again… “ 

“Brain disorders affect as many as one in four Americans, so the lives of thousands of people in Ventura County are touched by these illnesses,” said Ratan Bhavnani, executive director of NAMI Ventura County. “Walking along the beautiful beachfront to support NAMI Ventura County is a blast and a chance to do something positive and fun,” while benefiting programs and raising awareness of mental illness.

Registration is free for participants, who are encouraged to collect donations. To register for the walk, donate, become a sponsor or for more information, visit or contact NAMI VC at (805) 641-2426.