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Melanie Sherlock, Pharm.D., Candidate 2017
Regis University School of Pharmacy
CPNP Student Chapter President

The CPNP Student Chapter at the Regis University School of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado hit the ground running with its launch during the 2013-2014 school year. The logistics of starting a new student chapter occupied the fall semester and the first official event was eagerly anticipated by our 22 new members. Being the nation’s largest mental health organization, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) was an excellent resource to kick-start our involvement in the community. Our officers reached out to the NAMI Colorado Chapter and organized an “In Our Own Voice” seminar in March on Regis’ campus. Two individuals came to speak about their experiences with mental illness and we had an excellent turnout with approximately 40 attendees. The success of this seminar gave our chapter momentum going into the rest of the spring semester.

Further research of NAMI as an organization revealed the extensive volunteer, educational, and networking opportunities, as well as support services NAMI offers their members and the community. NAMI Walks, one of their most popular events, aims to raise awareness of mental illness and support those affected by mental illness. These walks also double as fundraisers with all the proceeds going directly toward providing free resources, support and programs to people in need. The 2014 Denver NAMI Walk was our chapter’s next major NAMI event. We had 8 walkers, 14 team fundraisers, and raised $810 for NAMI Colorado. The success of this walk solidified our connection with NAMI Colorado. In 2015, we had 9 walkers, 12 team fundraisers, and raised $620.

The 2014-2015 academic year continued our collaboration with NAMI beginning with the organization of a CPNP movie night. One of our speakers at our first “In Our Own Voice” seminar, Jeff Zinn, is a NAMI member. His autobiographical film “A MAN-I-C” captured his first manic episode on camera and documents his experience with bipolar disorder. His desire to spread awareness and support led to a fun and successful event. Additionally, we hosted another successful “In Our Own Voice” seminar in the spring, participated in the 2015 NAMI Walk, and attended the 2015 NAMI Art Show.

In a 2015 Drugs of Abuse elective at Regis University, a NAMI member with the dual diagnosis of schizophrenia and methamphetamine use disorder came to class to share her interesting personal story. This was an eye opening experience for the students and she will be returning in 2016 to speak to our students.

NAMI has been a crucial element in the success of the Regis University School of Pharmacy CPNP student chapter. The members of NAMI Colorado have been outstanding examples of the dedication and passion it takes to make a difference. We are looking forward to a future in which we continue to work closely with NAMI in order to create positive change and constant improvement in the mental health community.

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