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NAMI Kansas moves to West Ridge Mall

Topeka Capital Journal - 12/22/2019

The National Alliance on Mental Health Kansas has changed location.

The organization announced Thursday that it has relocated from downtown Topeka to West Ridge Mall, 1801 S.W. Wanamaker Road. NAMI offices are on the second floor, near Furniture Mall of Kansas.

According to NAMI Kansas executive director Sherrie Vaughn, the move started with the idea of increasing awareness of the organization’s annual walk, which aims to raise awareness about mental illness. It is one of NAMI Kansas’ biggest fundraisers.

“From that conversation of wanting to raise more awareness for our walk, we went to the management at the mall to see about doing our walk there,” Vaughn said.

She said mall management was excited about the partnership. The 2020 NAMI Kansas walk is scheduled for May 2 at the mall.

“And then, the more I thought about this idea of raising awareness,” Vaughn said, “and the more I continued to hear concerns from folks who were trying to find us at 5th and Jackson, and having difficulty finding us at 5th and Jackson, the more I came to realize that we were sitting in the back yard, behind the six-foot privacy fence, and we needed to get on the front porch.”

Vaughn said provides that “front porch,” meaning it offers more visibility for the organization.

“Folks come to the mall to walk, to meet, to shop, to eat, to just hang out with friends,” Vaughn said. “So now we’re on the front porch, where people do life.”

NAMI Kansas will have an open house at the new offices from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.Feb. 14. At 5:30 p.m. that day, the

organization will show the 2018 film “Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller,” which tells the story of Canadian sports broadcaster Mauro Ranallo’s lifelong battle with mental illness.

Open house attendees and movie goers are invited to bring friends and family, their favorite folding chairs, pillows and blankets.

“Our hope is to raise awareness about mental health, ending stigma and the services provided by NAMI Kansas and our affiliates,” Vaughn said.

Those wanting to learn more about NAMI Kansas and the services it offers can visit namikansas.org.

India Yarborough, iyarborough@cjonline.com