NAMI Hays received the Affiliate of the Year award at the annual conference in October of NAMI Kansas, the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Affiliate of the Year recognition is awarded based on activity reflecting growth in membership, fundraising, program activity, community outreach and organizational development.

“It’s always a difficult choice given strong performances by a number of NAMI affiliates in the state,” said Rick Cagan, NAMI Kansas executive director. “NAMI Hays has done exceptional work in the development of new community partnerships and in strengthening representation on their Steering Committee.”

Cagan commented on their work in sustaining relationships with the NAMI On Campus organization at Fort Hays State University and consistently delivering excellent fundraising results for the annual NAMI Walk in May.

In addition to offering the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program in 2017, NAMI Hays sponsored three other public programs in April, August and November. Of special note was the April program featuring Dr. J.D. Schramm.

Cagan cited the initiative by NAMI Hays to produce yard signs which have been located at strategic locations in town to focus on awareness and destigmatizing mental illness. He stated NAMI Hays has played a key role in generating interest in establishing new NAMI groups in western Kansas, notably Garden City and Norton County.

Ann Leiker was present at the annual gathering in Pittsburg to receive the award for NAMI Hays.

NAMI is the largest national organization of individuals living with mental illness and their family members with a presence in 50 states, operating through a network of more than 900 local affiliates, including 15 local organizations in Kansas. Local groups like NAMI Hays provide programs of peer support, education, and advocacy for people living with mental illnesses and for their family members.

NAMI Hays can be reached at (785) 259- 6859 or by email at namihays@gmail.com.