In 2014, NAMI Mobile began a program, NAMI Care Funds, dedicated to assisting people residing in Mobile County who are living with a mental illness and a family member with a financial need. The program and the requests for financial assistance have grown steadily. Since January of this year, the financial requests have surpassed the total requests received in all of 2017. So far this year, more than $20,000 in grants has been awarded to aid 21 people and pay for two vans to transport peers to a recovery conference. The majority of money raised from the annual NAMI Walks is used to support the NAMI Care Funds program.
There are four areas of need for which someone can apply. The first two areas are available only to aid people living with mental illness: the dental fund, which is to assist with dental care expenses, and the general fund, which is to be used to provide for clothing, personal care items, household goods, food or special needs as recommended by a clinician. The other two areas are the transportation and lodging fund, which provides financial assistance with travel or lodging expenses for families wanting to visit a relative receiving psychiatric treatment in an inpatient treatment facility, and the educational grant fund, which pays for a patient or family member wanting to attend an educational workshop or conference related to mental illness.
“Having these funds available for things like dental expenses can be life-altering for people. We have had requests from people who could eat nothing more than baby food because of dental issues. After they’ve had teeth extractions or dentures properly fitted, they are like new people,” said Connie Ewing, treasurer of NAMI Mobile.
The application process is the first step to receiving NAMI Mobile Care Funds. Visit NAMIMobile.org for more information on this and other local programs. AltaPointe Health is a major sponsor of the NAMI walk.