NAMIWalks NH is the largest annual mental health awareness and fundraising event in New Hampshire.
And it just so happens that the 15th annual walk – A World of Hope! – returns this Sunday, beginning in the fields on South Fruit Street, across from Memorial Field. The walk is free, but feel free to make a donation. Last year’s event brought in $120,000.
“It’s the largest mental health awareness and fundraiser in the state of New Hampshire,” said Kim Murdoch, development manager for NAMI New Hampshire. “The walk is so important.”
The event began with less than 200 people a decade and a half ago, but more than 850 walkers took part last year to help take the stigma out of the issue of mental illness and support the 1 in 5 kids and adults in the Granite State who face mental illness each year.
“There’s a real need to get rid of the stigma around it,” Murdoch said. “It’s fantastic that people donate, but it’s also an awareness event. The existence of that stigma prevents people from seeking help.”
All you have to do is go to the soccer fields at 73 South Fruit St. on Sunday wearing your walking shoes.
Registration opens at 9 a.m., and the walk kicks off at 10:30 a.m. There is the traditional 5K route that heads through downtown or a shorter stroll for those who aren’t up for more than three miles of walking.
The walk is both family-friendly and dog-friendly, and includes the fourth annual dog costume contest, a photo booth, Zumba, Blue String Marionettes, face painting, music with Rock 101’s DJ Adam Furious, bounce houses for the kids, mini therapy horse, free grilled lunch for participants, a State Police working dog and motorcycle detail, a bubble station, other activities for the kids, super raffles, and much more.
“It’s such an important cause, but we have so much fun,” Murdoch said.
Every year, mental illness impacts the lives of so many people across the country. Last year, with the help of NAMIWalks NH supporters, NAMI New Hampshire provided support, education and advocacy to more than 15,000 Granite Staters affected by mental illness – adults, children and their families.
Learn more about NAMI New Hampshire by visiting naminh.org.
Visit namiwalks.org/ newhampshire for free registration, to make a donation or register as a virtual walker.