Thousands attended the first in-person Walk for Mental Health hosted by NAMI Miami-Dade on Saturday, May 21 at Museum Park.

With more than 1,200 participants and 142 teams, the Walk for Mental Health Awareness hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Miami-Dade on Saturday, May 21, raised funds for free support groups, peer mentoring, outreach and adult and youth educational programs.  The nonprofit met its  fundraising goal of $225,000, enabling continued growth in its presence in Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys, according to Board President, Susan Racher.

Statistics show the crucial need for mental health resources in our community. In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.  By 2021, a CDC survey found that 20% of teens said they had contemplated suicide.

“Stigma is a huge barrier to people talking about mental health or expressing their thoughts about self-harm or suicide. NAMI Miami focuses attention on this issue, normalizing the conversation, and helping people realize that they are not alone when they feel unwell,” said Ms. Racher.

Ms. Racher and Kathy Coppola, NAMI Miami’s Executive Director accepted a Proclamation issued by the Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners including Eileen Higgins and Rene Garcia, acknowledging the efforts and commitment of NAMI Miami-Dade and its partners to improve the quality of life in the community.

(L to R) John Newcomer, MD, president of Thriving Mind South Florida; Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Commissioner; Susan Racher, Board President NAMI Miami-Dade; Kathy Coppola, Executive Director of NAMI Miami-Dade; Carlos J. Martinez, Miami Dade Public Defender; Susan Holtzman, Office of the Mayor, Miami-Dade County kicked off the Opening Ceremonies for NAMI Miami-Dade’s Walk for Mental Health on Saturday, May 21 at Museum Park.

The inspiring first event of its kind featured representatives and sponsors from a variety of health and mental health agencies, including Thriving Mind South Florida, Banyan Health, Baptist Health, University of Miami Department of Psychiatry, CHI, Citrus Health, Jackson Health, Nicklaus Children’s and Rogers Behavioral,  as well as police officers and more who represent the front line of the mental health crisis in Miami-Dade. These professionals assembled together to show their support for those with mental health challenges and to highlight the various resources available in Miami-Dade County. 

NAMI Miami-Dade had the enthusiastic support of many corporate and community sponsors and sponsor teams, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as the Presenting Sponsor; Deloitte, Bank of America, Key Biscayne Community Foundation, Miami-Dade Public Defenders Office, Fidelity Investments, The Children’s Trust, Univision Miami Contigo, Health Foundation of South Florida, Cigna and Holland and Knight. It is not too late to donate. For a full list of sponsors, go to

About NAMI Miami-Dade

NAMI Miami-Dade County is an affiliate of the nation’s largest peer-led mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of individuals affected by a mental health condition and their families. For more information, call 305-665-2540, or visit and connect with us on Facebook or Instagram at @NAMIMiami.

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