Walkathon for mental health awareness in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of men and women walked on Sunday to help stamp out the stigma of mental illness. 22News found out what strategy they’re using.

The western Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI as it’s called, held its 14 annual walkathon on Sunday in Springfield. They helped to raise money for mental health awareness and services.

With an estimated one out of seventeen Americans suffering from serious mental illness, the problems hit close to home here in western Massachusetts.

Marie Wenninger of Ludlow told 22News, “Somebody in my family has been affected by a mental illness. NAMI has been very supportive and they have many services to help families in this situation.”

“At first when my family member was stricken with mental illness really we had no knowledge at all, nowhere to go. NAMI had a course a 12 week course that offered this type of information

I’ve learned from that course,” said Dominick Garrefa of Hampden.

22News anchor Rich Tettemer not only served as walkathon host, as Rich has for many years, but he also helped carry the banner to get across the NAMI message, that mental illness is an often misunderstood disease.

The money raised during this walk will be used for programs and services both for the mentally ill and loved one’s helping them.

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