Positively Milwaukee

'NAMI Walks' kickoff helps to raise awareness

CREATED Mar 7, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 7, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - Every year about a thousand people come out for the 3-mile 'NAMI Walks' event along the Milwaukee lakefront in order to bring awareness to mental illness. NAMI

Milwaukee Executive Director Peter Hoeffel wants to make this year bigger than ever.

"It's about coming out and saying 'I'm not embarrassed about this, this is an illness, a physical illness like any other', and we're gonna walk to show we need to be recognized like any other medical condition," he says.

This year's walk will be Saturday May 17th. All proceeds benefit the Milwaukee chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI held a kickoff event Friday at the War Memorial.

Hoeffel says the kickoff event is a chance to rally the troops. "Gathering all the people who are volunteers. They're our team captains. Their friends, family, and others are affected by mental health issues... and they are really excited about helping."

Walk organizers say 1 in 4 of us is living with this treatable condition.

"Because with treatment people do really well, and that's what our walk is about. It's about raising that awareness, getting people out, if you get help, get support. You can live a very healthy life," Hoeffel explains.