Teenagers support NAMI’s efforts


The teenager leaned on a friend for support as she tried to tell her story.

She had attempted to end her life by suicide 13 times. Now she was trying to find a new path with the support of NAMI’s Bluebirds program for 6e up to 12e graders.

“Knowing that there are people out there who actually care, it really helps,” she said as a group of teenagers approached her, wrapping her in a group hug.

Bobbie Collinsworth was among those serving hors d’oeuvres at the NAMI spring fundraiser.

The girl’s story was one of many stories of old despair that have been transformed into stories of hope, thanks to various programs offered by NAMI-Wood River Valley.

Walt McKew was among those who listened to the stories as they were told at NAMI’s Spring Fundraiser held at the Friesen + Lantz Gallery in Ketchum.

“I look at these young women and they look so much like my daughters,” Walt McKew said. It’s something no one should have to go through. »

Attendees drank signature cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres while browsing a long list of silent auction items including a fly-fishing adventure with Silver Creek Outfitters, a workout at The Mill and an Overland Sheepskin Company item.


Melanie read a short book she wrote that NAMI publishes to help teens work toward mental wellness.

Art therapist Jordan Dooley took advantage of the framework to describe how art can be used in trauma therapy.

“Art is for everyone,” she said. “Anyone can benefit from art therapy.”

Artist Hailey Melissa Graves Brown, meanwhile, gave attendees like Donna Pritchard and Elle Burley the chance to add their brushstrokes to a painting she had started.

“It’s watercolor for a reason,” Pritchard noted. “With watercolor, you have to give up perfection.”


Executive Director Brittany Shipley shared how NAMI-WRV is trying to de-stigmatize mental illness.

“You can’t do art wrong, contrary to some opinions,” Brown added. “The fact that this is a collective work of art means that we are all in this together. And it’s designed to bring more color to our world.

A Silver Creek High School student read some of her poetry, including a poem she wrote after her stepmother died by suicide.

“His face is still etched in my mind…” She began. “I understand that people have to die, but why do they have to leave so soon?” she concludes.

And board member Jason Barbee talked about how he wanted to coordinate outdoor adventures from hiking to mountain biking.


Page Klune is buoyed by the giant strides that NAMI-WRV has made over the past few years.

“I found that getting back to the rhythm of nature can help us grow,” he said.

NAMI Board Chair Page Klune said she has seen the Wood River Valley Local make tremendous progress over the past five years, even with the COVID pandemic that has crippled so many. things in the valley.

It has, for example, expanded its Bluebirds after-school program to five schools. Peer-to-peer program – the first of its kind in the nation – offers teens a safe place to come together to create art, participate in outdoor activities and share concerns while learning coping skills to cope with the stresses of life. During this process, children learn to set goals, advocate for themselves, problem solve and work in teams, as well as overcome anxiety and replace negative self-talk or self-harm with positive behaviors.

“We rebranded ourselves and provided training programs for companies so they could help any of their employees who faced a situation, big or small,” Klune said. “We hire young interns. And we are updating our website. We just need to keep dollars to support our work.

This summer, NAMI-WRV is offering a Bluebirds Summer Program, a free eight-week program for grades six through 12.e students interested in cultivating emotional well-being.

It also offers family support groups in English and Spanish, mental health peer support groups and a suicide support group.

To learn more, visit https://namiwrv.org or call 208-578-5466. You can also email Brittany Shipley, Executive Director of NAMI-WRV, at [email protected]@namiwrv.org. Or contact Abby Conover, NAMI Programs Coordinator at [email protected]@namiwrv.org

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