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Thought Leader: Beth Sanders, President of NAMI, Northside Atlanta (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Photographer: Jenna Shea Photography
Designer: Monica Kraeger

BETH SANDERS SAYS: “Those who are mentally ill deserve to have their Human Dignity validated!”

“One in five Americans experience a mental health condition every year. Mental illness affects everyone, directly or indirectly,” Beth explains. “In 2017, suicide reached 47,000 deaths. Suicide is now the 10thleading cause of death in the USA. Considering these numbers, mental health should be a concern for everyone.”

I’ve been married for 35 years. We have three children and one grandchild. My background is in education, but I have spent the last 25 years immersed in mental health through supporting and advocating for loved ones, and learning to navigate the mental health system.

About three years after a loved one was diagnosed with Severe Mental Illness, my husband and I were directed to NAMI. NAMI is the nation’s largest, grass roots mental health organization. NAMI offers free education, support and resources to those with a mental illness and their loved ones. NAMI advocates for change at the legislative level to ensure quality mental health care for all Americans, and advocates for continued research for more effective treatments. NAMI became a lifeline for us offering the support and education we desperately needed early in our journey. I now serve as President of NAMI Northside Atlanta. I teach classes and together my husband and I facilitate a support group for family members twice a month. It is a privilege to serve others who find themselves on this difficult road.