Alpha Kappa Alpha Sororitiy, Inc. Donates $5,000 to NAMI Southern Nevada

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) and NAMI are working together to increase mental health awareness in the African American community. In July the AKA national organization donated $5,000 to NAMI Southern Nevada during the annual AKA Leadership Conference held at the Bellagio Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.  

NAMI Nevada Board of Directors member Barbara Van Dyke, Executive Director Ginger Paulsen and Administrative Assistant Adrienne Augustus joined a mental health panel and spoke about lived experience in a session titled Launching 1908 Steps for NAMI-2.0 & More.

A Prized Partnership

Starting in 2015, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) and NAMI are working together to increase mental health awareness in the African American community. AKA Chapters will work with NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates to educate African Americans about mental health, treatment and recovery. Together, we can help communities access much needed treatment services and support.

AKA is the nation’s oldest sorority founded by African-American, college-educated women. Today, the sorority has grown into an impactful organization of over 290,000 women working to fulfill the AKA commitment of serving their community.

AKA and NAMI have worked together since 2015 on our shared goal of improving the lives of people affected by mental illness by raising awareness and promoting NAMI programs in the African-American community. AKA is a truly invaluable partner to NAMI, ensuring that people of color see themselves and their culture reflected in NAMI’s programs, support groups and awareness activities.

AKA And NAMI: Building Bridges In The African-American Community

Race and ethnicity are an important piece of someone’s culture. And culture, even when we don’t realize it, has a deep influence on how we live our lives. It’s culture that helps form our values, attitudes and norms. It’s culture that connects us to our faith, our family and our community. Our culture can create and yield positivity in many aspects of our lives. However, it can also create obstacles.

Too often, culture can negatively influence what we learn about mental illness and mental health. Messages of “Let go and let God,” “Don’t air your dirty laundry,” “Tough it out,” among many others cause people to deprioritize their mental health. When culture “norms” affect a person’s willingness or ability to get help when they’re struggling, it becomes a cultural barrier.

Cultural barriers are never easy to overcome, but it can be done—if there are people within the community willing to create change. And this is part of our mission at NAMI: to empower people to break cultural barriers and fight stigma within their own communities.

But we can’t do this alone. That’s why Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) helps NAMI build bridges into the African-American community.