CAMI-CNMI: Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in the CNMI

This is a letter I just emailed to 18 people here in Saipan about starting up a mental health awareness group, called CAMI-CNMI:

My name is Steve Nguyen. I work as a Behavior Specialist for the public school system here in Saipan.

In the process of trying to find some help for a young man and while discussing and collaborating with a fellow member of the Mental Health Planning Council named Kaye Christian, an idea came to my mind to start a mental health awareness group here in the CNMI!

We've all heard about how a few passionate people started Beautify CNMI, a group of concerned citizens, groups, and government agencies united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride. They picked up trash and are doing a great job cleaning up the beaches.

Beautify CNMI is doing its part to make our environment healthier, cleaner, and more beautiful. In this same spirit, we're going to start a mental health awareness group to clean up and wipe out the myths and stigmas that plague mental illness. We want to be the Beautify CNMI of mental health!

Drawing inspirations from Angelo Villagomez' Beautify CNMI (environment) and Tina Sablan's "Call for Action" (politics), we are going to follow in the same footsteps set by Beautify CNMI and do the same thing for mental health that Beautify CNMI is doing for the environment! We will call this new group CAMI-CNMI (Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in CNMI). By uniting the powers of VOLUNTEERS from the community and from various agencies like PSS, Clubhouse, NMC, DYS, CGC, DPS, NMPASI, etc. we can and will ignite a mental health awareness revolution here in the CNMI!

Currently, there is nothing like CAMI-CNMI for mental illness. But that's about to change in a very big way! We have a lot of meetings and people and agencies plan things but nothing ever gets done. Why? Because there are way too many planners and dreamers and wishful thinkers, but not enough doers. Kaye Christian and I believe in actions. We believe in the power of real people, giving "a real hand" to helping the community. CAMI-CNMI is not about politics or about grants or federal funding, although those things all play a role. Instead, CAMI-CNMI is about getting people in the CNMI community (whether you're 7 years old or 70 years old) to lend a "real helping hand."

We are looking for people who want to DO things instead of just talking about it. No more long meetings and time-consuming research groups. Let's just DO SOMETHING! Let's get some "Real Helping Hands!"

You will notice that I didn't email everyone in Saipan. On the contrary, each one of you has been hand-picked by me as someone with a great heart, a desire to help, and a sense of urgency. Your character, your job (as a writer, a psychologist, an educator/administrator, a business woman, a counselor, etc), and your willingness to do the work when others run away are what separates you from the pack of mediocrity and complacency.

CAMI-CNMI will serve as the umbrella under which the Clubhouse and other activities will get the community and schools involved in the lives of the mental health consumers.

I'm calling on each and everyone of you on this email list (1) To join CAMI-CNMI to wipe out the myths and stigmas that plague mental illness here in the CNMI, (2) To help CAMI-CNMI recruit and organize VOLUNTEERS to serve our community, starting at the Clubhouse, and (3) To Volunteer and lend "A Real Helping Hand" (1-2 hours per month) to set up activities for and join Clubhouse members. For example: doing arts & crafts, joining the members in bowling, taking walks with members on the beach path, play volleyball, basketball or baseball, jumping ropes, and so much more...

Won't you join us in CAMI-CNMI? Together, you and I will make a difference in the CNMI community by making it a better place to live, to work, and to play for ALL members of our society. We can and we will offer "A Real Helping Hand."

Thank you.

P.S. I would like to thank Kaye Christian for believing and sharing in this project and to my lovely wife for helping me come up with the CAMI-CNMI name and ideas!

***We will have our very first CAMI-CNMI meeting, Wed. Jan. 24th at 6:30pm at the Clubhouse, BenCam Building directly behind the Mobil middle road. Come join us!***

Steve Nguyen, MA: CAMI-CNMI (co-founder & Behavior Specialist)
Kaye Christian: CAMI-CNMI (co-founder & Clubhouse Volunteer)
Miwa Iguchi-Nguyen: CAMI-CNMI (co-founder & originator of motto)

Coalition on the Anti-Stigmas of Mental Illness in the CNMI

"A Real Helping Hand"

Posted bySteve Nguyen at 1/18/2007 06:20:00 PM  


The Saipan Blogger said... January 20, 2007 at 10:26 AM  

This is great. Really great. See you Wednesday night.

Steve Nguyen said... January 20, 2007 at 12:47 PM  

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement Angelo! CAMI-CNMI hopes to be able to get just 1/10th of the number of volunteers who've helped out with Beautify CNMI.

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