Team NAMI Q&A: Marian Keiko Alino

Marian Keiko Alino joined the NAMI WLA team as an intern. Here, she answers questions for our Team NAMI Q&A.

Who or what inspires you?

My friends and my family who struggle with their own mental health inspire me. Some are self-aware. Some are still figuring it out. They inspire me because I see how hard they work to face their mental health journey head-on. And I am always willing to do what I can for them.

What would you say is the biggest challenge we face working to improve the overall mental health and well-being of our communities? 

Old habits die hard. And as a second-generation Filipino-American, I see first-hand how some members of my family struggle to see the importance of mental health. Yes, they are learning, but it’s still going to take some time for mental health to be a daily topic of conversation in these households.

Can you share something you’re proud of?

I’m proud of advocating for mental health by joining the NAMI WLA community. Interning for an organization like NAMI was not something I saw myself in a year ago. But after losing a loved one with a mental health condition, I’m proud to share my story and my loved one’s story. Even though at times it can be very hard, I know I’m sharing it with a group of people who can empathize.

What do you personally do to take care of your mental health? Can you share one or more of your self-care activities?

I love exercise and the release of endorphins to help elevate my mood. The after-effects of going for that run or taking that spin class is also just rewarding because as much as I dreaded it beforehand, I’m always glad I got up and did it!

What gives you hope for the future?

Ever since I started working on the NAMI WLA communications team, I have been more active on social media, on both the NAMI WLA account and my personal one. I see how vocal a lot of people are now on their platforms. Whether someone has 100,000 or 100 followers, to see someone share a cool article or story on destigmatizing mental health or calling for action, I become hopeful for a better future.