Yale/NAMI-CT Collaboration Stronger Than Ever

Faculty Joins Board, NAMI-CT Honors Department Chair and Resident

08/31/2011: Yale's Department of Psychiatry fosters a strong working relationship with the Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-CT), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with serious mental illnesses and their families. NAMI-CT estimates that the state is home to approximately 109,000 adults and 39,000 children living with serious mental health illness or conditions.

Founded in 1984 by a group of Connecticut families, NAMI-CT serves thousands of individuals and families while promoting community health and awareness. NAMI-CT co-sponsors the Department's annual Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Conference and annual Neuroscience Symposium and regularly hosts Department teams in its annual awareness-raising walkathon. NAMI-CT and Department faculty have adapted curriculum for and co-taught state agency trainings.

Recently, Dr. Hilary Blumberg, a member of Yale Psychiatry's Faculty, joined the NAMI-CT Board of Directors. She praised the organization and its engaged membership, saying "NAMI is a wonderful, critically-needed organization. Its members are deeply dedicated to working together to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI plays an important role in educating individuals, family members, health care providers and the general public about mental illness and available services. In this new capacity I look forward to supporting NAMI-CT's mission as well as furthering the important joint collaborations by NAMI-CT and Yale."

At its 2011 Annual Meeting, in recognition of these collaborations, NAMI-CT honored Yale Psychiatry Department Chair Dr. John Krystal with its Board of Directors Award noting Dr. Krystal’s ongoing work to improve the quality of life for individuals with serious mental illness and promotion of the family voice. It was the second NAMI-affiliated recognition for Dr. Krystal this year. He also received an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the national parent organization for substantial contributions to NAMI state chapter activities.

Additionally, NAMI-CT recognized then Yale Psychiatry resident Dr. Eric Arzubi, with its Sheila Amdur Public Policy Award. The award, named for a national board member and tireless mental health policy advocate, recognizes commitment to improve the lives of individuals with mental illness and family members through public policy advocacy. In 2010, while a third-year resident, Dr. Arzubi approached NAMI-CT about coordinating a gubernatorial candidate forum to highlight critical issues in children’s mental health. At the resulting forum, 15-year-old Paul Pernerewski bravely shared his struggle with mental illness. It was a compelling message for which Paul was awarded NAMI-CT's Stigma Buster Award. Dr. Arzubi is now a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow at Yale's Child Study Center.

NAMI-CT President Robert Davidson, PhD said that NAMI members are an eager audience for the results of the Yale Psychiatry Department’s research. "We are lucky to be so close to a major research university and even luckier that most Yale faculty are so responsive to our questions. In return, NAMI-CT can put a human face on the molecules and brain scans they work with every day. We sincerely appreciate the Department's and Dr. Krystal’s ongoing support."

For more information

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Connecticut Chapter