Published September 16, 2014
Volume 22, Number 9

Swing for Charity to Benefit Mental Illness

National Alliance on Mental Illness

By Zoe Francis

Marsha McInnis is determined to bring the challenges of mental illness out in the open to focus attention on the critically important issue and to provide support for family members.
The Livermore mom launched the Tri-Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2007 to help others who, like her, are struggling with a family member who has mental illness.
“It’s really important for people to not feel so alone in their struggle to try to get help for their loved one or to keep things maintained,” McInnis said. Getting the proper aid “can contribute to someone’s wellness and recovery. Supporting the supporter will help. They’ll be better equipped to help the person who needs it.”
NAMI Tri-Valley, as the local chapter is called, is hosting its second annual Swing for Charity Golf Tournament on September 26 to raise much-needed funds to offer support groups, classes and educational workshops.
“We far exceeded our expectations last year,” she said. “We raised over $7,000. That may seem small, but we’re a small organization and young. That’s an amazing amount.”
Golfers who had a great time at last year’s tournament, dinner and auction are helping spread the word to make this year’s event bigger and better.
“In the golfing world, if you have one person interested in the charity, then they get their buddies excited,” McInnis noted. “Many people do the charity circuit. And we know how to put on a good party. This is almost a relief to do. We run with it with our heart and soul. There’s so much pain around (mental illness). We want to do everything to lift that pain as best we can around the whole stigma, lack of resources and lack of services.”
Golfers are treated to a spectacular day on the greens at the Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore, complete with a box lunch. The tournament offers incredible hole-in-one chances to win one of four cars – a different type of car at each hole.
The celebration continues in the evening with dinner at Beeb’s Sports Bar & Grill, a raffle and a spectacular array of auction items.
“We’ve had some wonderful support, and it just keeps growing,” McInnis said. “If you can’t make the dinner and want to support us, you can certainly donate.”
NAMI Tri-Valley, based in Pleasanton, offers monthly family support groups in both Pleasanton and Livermore. Twice a year, the group offers a 12-week course for families who have an adult relative with mental illness.
“Everything we do is for free,” she said. “We’re an all-volunteer organization. We have trained peers who are skilled in teaching these classes. They’re also family members. If any professional helps, it’s on a volunteer basis.”
The group also offers a monthly speaker series at the main Livermore library.
“We’ll continue to do what we can to bring as much information out here in the best manner that we can,” McInnis said. “That’s how these different workshops, support groups and family-to-family classes (work). It helps empower the family member.”
“There are men and women who call me practically in tears,” she continued. “You can’t do it alone. It’s not a family issue. It’s a community issue.”
Learn more about NAMI Tri-Valley and register for the Swing for Charity Golf Tournament and dinner at nami-trivalley.org.


Also in this issue...