The National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC Metro announced today that hip hop legend, author, and mental health advocate Darryl “DMC” McDaniels will serve as grand marshal of its 11th annual NAMIWalks NYC.
The annual event is the largest mental health fundraising and awareness walk in the country with more than 5,000 attendees walking to promote awareness, fight discrimination, and help raise funds to support New York families and individuals living with mental illnesses.
“May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and May 13 is an important date for NAMI NYC-Metro,” said Kinsey McManus, interim executive director, NAMI-NYC Metro. “Eleven years ago, NAMIWalks NYC started with just 1,000 participants and by 2016, we had more than 5,000 attendees and raised $600,000 to fund our important programs that help those affected by a mental health diagnosis. Our goal is to exceed those numbers this year so we can continue to offer our no-cost classes and support groups that work to create a stigma-free environment.”
The Walk begins at the South Street Seaport Promenade where participants will gather to travel over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, and then celebrate their accomplishment at a post-walk wellness fair which will include such activities as free massage, yoga, basic health screenings, raffle prizes and more. In years past, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and mental health advocate Jaclyn Stapp have served as grand marshal, and bands such as Boola and Controller have performed.
NAMIWalks NYC supports families and individuals with mental illness and helps to eradicate the stigma they face every day. Funds raised from NAMIWalks NYC will allow NAMI-NYC Metro to provide no-cost support and education to tens of thousands of New Yorkers with their programs including four signature, multi-week psycho-educational courses; bi-monthly public education events with leading experts, and more than 20 support groups for families and friends caring for a loved one facing a mental illness diagnosis.