Holiday Cheer: Message from Our Executive Director

By Erin R. Ryan

When I realized the holiday season was upon us, it made me think of the concept of cheer and community. It’s fair to say we could all use a little more cheer—comfort, support, and encouragement—in our lives.

I am grateful for our NAMI WLA team for our collective efforts to try to incorporate mental health cheer into our community’s fabric, whether it’s through awareness campaigns, support groups, or initiatives that promote self-care (related: check out guide to maintaining mental health during the holidays for you and your loved ones). Together, we can inspire a culture that recognizes the strength in vulnerability, the beauty in diversity, and the power of unity.

We are also ushering in the season of giving and we are grateful to those committed to funding our expanding efforts to serve our community. Giving Tuesday was Tuesday, November 28 and we appreciate the annual tradition kicking off the season of giving to spotlight the work of nonprofits during a very commercial season. We recently launched NAMI’s new Do It Your Way (DIYW) campaign platform to provide community members with a fun and easy way to fundraise for causes that matter to them and were delighted to see the Oak Park High School Cheer and Stunt Team’s Cheer for Mental Health Campaign to support our affiliate. Thank you for leading the way, OPHS! Maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own DIYW campaign for Giving Tuesday or another time this holiday season? (It’s easy! Learn more about it here!)

While this season can be challenging for our community members impacted by mental health conditions, I hope you find the comfort and cheer you need and that you can be gentle with yourself and your loved ones this holiday.