NAMI organization shining a light on mental illness with virtual walk Saturday

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is working to help so many who are struggling, working to end the stigma and shame associated with mental illness. 

"Mental illness affects more than 60 million Americans. Every year one in five adults, one in ten children or adolescents. Unfortunately only about 40 percent of people who live with a mental health diagnosis ever actually seek treatment," Fischer said. 

Kevin Fischer knows from personal experience. 

"When I had my experience with mental illness I had no idea what resources were available or how to connect with them so Nami is that gateway," he said. 

Fischer is the executive director of NAMI Michigan. Back in 2007 when his son Dominique was a sophomore in college he was diagnosed as bipolar schizophrenic and lost his life to suicide in 2010. Kevin was devastated. 

"I didn't handle the grief very well and I slipped into a very deep depression and started experiencing some suicidal thoughts of my own and literally came within hours of taking my own life in 2011," he said.  

He found his way to NAMI and started volunteering there and became executive director in 2014. 

"I love it, it's my passion, it's needed in every community, especially communities of color and so it's my life's work now," he said. 

Fischer says he's proof most people who get treatment live productive lives, but early diagnosis and treatment are key. 

There are millions of Americans who are here to support you and we want people to simply get the help that they need. 

Now, NAMI needs a little help to make that happen, they're gearing up for their annual walk, but this time it's virtual on Saturday, October 10th, a major and much-needed fundraiser since their services are free.

Their other fundraisers have been canceled due to COVID and the need for mental health help amid the pandemic is greater than ever. 

"We're supporting millions of people who are living with mental illness and the fact recovery is possible," Fischer said.  

To join the 5k walk or do your own activity you can register and form a team or join an existing team like Kevin's. 

If 100 people donate 100 dollars each to my team, now only do they get a NAMI Walks t-shirt but I will walk 20 miles on Saturday to show my support and dedication for the effort. 

To get involved or donate go to