NAMI Virginia Beach, the Mental Health Awareness Coalition and Town Center businesses will host events benefiting Virginia Beach citizens affected by mental illness.
Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness every year. During May, mental health advocates across the country are working together to bring awareness to mental health. At the heart of Virginia Beach’s Town Center, the Clark Nexsen building will be adorned with green lighting May 1 to 7.
Throughout the week, there will be several events benefiting those affected by mental illness in the Hampton Roads community:
Tuesday, May 1, 11:00 AM – Meet & Greet at the Fountain Plaza
Meet and greet for mental health advocates and community members featuring bagpipes and a local chorale group. Tom Schaad of WAVY TV 10, will begin the program at 11:30. He will be joined by speakers including Delegate Jason Miyares, Delegate Cheryl Turbin,
and Virginia Beach School Board member Dan Edwards.
Tuesday, May 1 to Thursday, May 3 – Education Fair at the Fountain Plaza
An education fair where community members can visit with representatives from local organizations providing resources and support for those living with mental illness.
Wednesday, May 2 – “Say It Out Loud” program at Zeiders American Dream Theater
Three young adults will share their stories of being affected by mental health issues. This NAMI Say It Out Loud program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, but
registration is available.
Several Town Center businesses will take part in Mental Health Month by posting “We support Mental Wellness” stickers in their windows and handing out green ribbons, signifying mental health awareness, to their customers. Selected merchants will also offer
discounts and promotions during the three day event.
Later in the month, on Friday, May 18, a free event titled A Community Conversation on the topic of Employment of Persons with Disabilities will take place at Enoch Baptist Church. The event and networking luncheon are sponsored by Enoch Baptist Church, Eggleston Services, NAMI Virginia Beach and FIN. Attendees or interested vendors can
register in advance.
Additionally, I Need a Lighthouse, a teen depression and suicide prevention program, will sponsor its 15th annual Beacon of Hope 5k at 24th Street Park at the Oceanfront at 9 a.m., Sunday, May 20. Advanced registration is available. The month’s events conclude with a teen conference; I Need a Lighthouse hosted by EVMS’s Dr. Paul Aravich, PhD at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 30. The event is free and attendees can register online.
One in 5 Americans is affected by a mental health condition. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.
Thank you to Jimmy Johns for offering complimentary samples during the opening ceremonies and education fair at the fountain plaza 11-2pm, May 1-3.  
These businesses will offer at their locations on May 1-3:
Just Cupcakes: Stop by for a special cupcake surprise and a donation of $1 for every cupcake will be made to NAMI Va. Beach!
Gordon Biersch: Bring rack card with NAMI events for the week, or a pic of the rack card and receive 10% off your bill!
Men’s Wearhouse:  Bring rack card with NAMI events for the week, or a pic of the rack card and receive a special coupon for extra savings.
McCormick & Schmick’s: Stop by the Mental health resource table at fountain plaza between 11-2pm. May 1-3, and receive a coupon for a FREE appetizer!
The Royal Chocolate: Gourmet chocolate covered apples will be $2 off, no limit!  In addition, for every apple The Royal Chocolate sells during the first week of May, they will donate $1 to NAMI Virginia Beach!