NAMI-NYC CELEBRATES 40 HISTORIC YEARS DURING MAY’S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH:

“THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY” STAR, AUTHOR & MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE LEAH McSWEENEY

NAMED GRAND MARSHAL OF NAMI-NYC’S ANNUAL“WALK” FUNDRAISER EVENT AND FIRST-EVER MENTAL HEALTH STREET FESTIVAL

HOSTED BY NYC DRAG ARTIST, TELEVISION PERSONALITY & LGBTQIA+ ADVOCATE MARTI CUMMINGS

FEATURING LIVE MURAL PAINTINGS LED BY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST JASON NAYLOR and ARTISTS FROM THE PUBLIC MURAL PROJECT “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”

SUNDAY, MAY 22 (10 AM – 1 PM) PIER 16 – NYC’S SOUTH STREET SEAPORT

NAMI-NYC (local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness) will celebrate 40 historic years of peer-based community support and advocacy during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month on Sunday, May 22 with its annual fundraising event “NAMIWalks NYC” and first-ever mental health street festival. Leah McSweeney, star of “The Real Housewives of New York City,” fashion-industry pioneer, author of her new memoir “Chaos Theory,” and mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder, is the grand marshal for the live, in-person event, hosted by NYC drag artist and television personality, Marti Cummings. The 16th annual community walk held at Pier 16 – South Street Seaport (10 a.m. ET to 1:00 p.m. ET) is a local day of awareness to support #MentalHealthForAll and a celebration of community gatherings and peer-to-peer fundraising. “NAMIWalks NYC” will also feature live mural paintings of inspirational messages of hope and healing, led by award-winning artist Jason Naylor; Dirty Bandits, co-founder of the “You Are Not Alone” public mural project; and artist Adam Fujita.

Matt Kudish, NAMI-NYC executive director: “We’re elated to have Leah McSweeney and Marti Cummings infuse their passion and joy into our first public gathering since the shutdown. They shine a bright light on the critical work we do to support the mental health needs of our community — since the start of the pandemic, and over the last 40 years.” Kudish continued, “I’ve long admired Leah’s verve and authenticity, and of course, her candor about living, unapologetically, with bipolar disorder. Leah is constantly breaking down barriers and the stigmas that surround mental illness. And the way she’s leaned into the encouragement from her sister and her family represents everything we do every day in support of both individuals and families affected by mental illness, through our peer-led model providing the help and education people deserve.”

Leah McSweeney: “I’m so honored that NAMI-NYC invited me to be the grand marshal for NAMIWalksNYC. Their staff is tireless and 100% dedicated to giving our NYC community the free services, help, and answers to navigate their mental health. I can’t wait to join everyone down at the Seaport after my book tour and celebrate this incredibly special day of hope and fundraising as they kick off their mental health festival!”

NAMI-NYC will kick off the weekend as a founding partner and beneficiary of the Sound Mind Live music festival for mental health taking place at Rumsey Playfield – Central Park (5th Ave. & 69th St.) on Saturday, May 21 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The charitable concert event — to amplify mental health awareness through music and shared personal stories from the performers themselves — is headlined by alternative rockers Cold War Kids and rapper Big Boi.

As part of its month-long fundraising campaign, NAMI-NYC aims to raise $1,000,000 to fund the increased demand for its FREE mental health support programs, helpline, and services to aid New Yorkers impacted by mental health issues. Since March of 2020, with its added online video support groups and programs, NAMI-NYC has touched the lives of more than 30,000 individuals experiencing depression, grief, anxiety, panic attacks, and other related mental health conditions.

SPONSORS FOR NAMIWALKS NYC

Fox-5 New York, Alkermes, ASICS, Talkspace, Modern Health, Publicis Health, Kramer Levin, United Healthcare, Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa, PMI, Inc, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., Synexus, Relmada, United HealthCare, Neurocrine Biosciences, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Gracie Square Hospital, The Dorm, The Bar Method, Honeybrains, ORRO.

ABOUT NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS OF NEW YORK CITY (NAMI-NYC)

For 40 years, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC has offered life-changing support, education, and advocacy to families and individuals affected by mental illness. NAMI-NYC’s services are free of charge and available to anyone who needs them. For more information about NAMI-NYC and its programs and services, please visit naminyc.org.

NAMI-NYC on SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: @NAMINYCMetro | Instagram: @NAMINYC_Metro | Facebook: @NAMINYCMetro | Hashtag: #NAMIWalksNYC #MentalHealthForAll #YouAreNotAloneMurals #Together4MH