Team Captain Karen Howard

I walk because am the lead volunteer at NAMI of Washington County for family and youth programs.  I am a peer/consumer who lives with PTSD from raising a child with a severe and persistent mental illness, and I also live with anxiety and depression.

I am a grandmother who has a one-year-old granddaughter who loves all unconditionally, who may one day be diagnosed with one or more of these disorders in her lifetime.

I am an aunt who has nephews who live with mental illness and addiction. I am a mother of two children under the age of 21 living with mental illness. I am a wife whose husband lives with undiagnosed depression. I am a sister whose sister has anxiety and personality issues. I am a niece of uncles who lived with major depression and alcoholism and received care in the state hospital and aunts who have anxiety and depression. I am a daughter whose parents lived with undiagnosed mental illness and substance abuse. I am a granddaughter whose grandfather lived with undiagnosed depression and alcoholism.

I walk to be a voice for change. Mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible.

The NAMI WALK helps support the educational programs needed for families, educators, and community providers to learn about mental illness. These programs also create a support network for families, while giving educators and community providers a better understanding about how they can help those who live with mental illness.

I walk to advocate for equality in health care, education, housing and supported employment.

– Karen Howard, Team Captain, Family and Youth Connections