NAMI seeks Sandy support in upcoming fundraiser

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Clackamas County provides free support for people with mental health disorders and their families in Sandy. The group is continuing to try to raise awareness of its presence in the area.

“Mental health disorders are more prevalent than most of us realize until it impacts our family,” said Michele Veenker, executive director of NAMI Clackamas County. “Approximately 1,700 adults and children in the Sandy area have a severe and persistent form of the disease. In addition, it is the single largest cause of lost productivity in the United States.”

Veenker said that suicide, the most common result of mental health disorders, causes more deaths in Oregon than car accidents, homicide and HIV/AIDS combined.

NAMI works to improve the quality of life for everyone impacted by mental health issues through support, education and advocacy.

In addition to being NAMI’s executive director for Clackamas County, Veenker has experienced the group’s services firsthand.

After graduating from Sandy High School, Veenker’s daughter became ill with bipolar disorder.

“NAMI gave me and my family the support, education and help that led to her treatment and finding her an apartment specifically for people with mental illnesses where she could heal,” Veenker said.

It has been five years since her daughter’s last episode.

Veenker, who has been a resident of Sandy since 1978, has been making strides to reach out to Sandy businesses to help support NAMI in its upcoming Party for a Purpose fundraiser.

NAMI is asking for items to be donated for the event’s auction on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Al Kader Shrine Center in Wilsonville.

For more information on donating to NAMI’s auction, contact Maeve Connor at 503-344-5050 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations are being accepted until Wednesday, July 30.

Starting in September, NAMI once again will offer its Family-to-Family support class in Sandy.

In addition to learning about different disorders, treatment options and emotional support for family and caregivers, participants in the 2-1/2-month class can join the Sandy Family and Peer Support Group.

NAMI’s Sandy class will run 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 2 to Nov. 18, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 39901 Pleasant St.

The class is free, but pre-registration is required. Contact NAMI at 503-344-5050 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for more information.

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