Mental Health

Mental Health

Circle of Friends

“Healing Through the Arts”

By: Rylee Kotzin

Why is this Organization Important?

I was instantly intrigued by this organization. I personally deal with mental health challenges, as I believe many college and young adults do as well. It heavily affects the way of our learning in and out of the classroom and can be a huge takeaway of how we behave in the classroom. Circle of Friends is an organization that gives people the opportunity to find themselves through visual arts, music, writing and drama. I personally really connect with this organization as one way for me to able to deal with my mental illness is dancing. I have been a dancer my whole life and I truly believe that the art has given me the chance to express myself physically and mentally. Circle of Friends provides the space and freedom for people to find their way of expressing themselves through art.

History of Organization

Circle of Friends was founded in 2002 by a various group of people, Dr. Sarah Nash Gates (NAMI personnel), Kirkland Arts Center Artists and the Raging Granny singers. It began as a project and having no funds. The group decided to pick three sites for gift making. The pilot project had creative arts and crafts available for people to make. The first project was a big hit and took off from there with weekly art classes. There are currently eight different location opportunities for people to give them a chance to take an art, photography, creative writing and drama class, read poetry, and just be able to express themselves through different ways of art.

Whom do They Serve? Programs Offered?

Circle of Friends serve many different people that have wide-ranging needs. Majority of the people are ones dealing with mental health challenges, homelessness or addiction. However, really anyone is allowed to join the weekly art classes that are held. Circle of Friends makes the event a judgement free environment and welcomes anyone that comes from a diverse, economic background. There are not necessarily “programs” offered, although, they have partners that is working with the organization. Friends of Youth, a non-profit organization that serves youth and young families facing homelessness and other health challenges. Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, is an organization for student leadership, cross-cultural experiences and more.

What Could They do Better?

Overall, I am very impressed with the Circle of Friends website and how clear everything is. However, I noticed that there are no outside perspective or reviews of Circle of Friends. I personally believe that it would be a great addition to the website so the reader has a better understanding of the organization and the information is not just coming from Circle of Friends. Yes, there are news articles on Circle of Friends, but I would like to see reviews from people that consistently go and intend the events. In addition, The donate section of the website personally seems a little bare and needs more. There are just a few statements on the page and I would like to see either some more images or possibly some other people’s personal experience with the organization and explaining why we should donate.

Was the Information about the Organization Accessible? Red Flags?

All of the information given on the website seemed very accessible. Everything was clear and well thought out. Very minor, personal opinionated suggestions, however, the creators of the website had all aspects of what a great non-profit organization should look like. I did not come across any “Red Flags” or anything concerning on the website.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) located in Seattle is a similar organization. NAMI focuses on people impacted by mental illness and help them improve on education, get them support and referrals.

Works Cited

Circle of Friends for Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2022, from

Nami Seattle | National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2022, from

Circle of Friends for Mental Health. Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2022, from

Mental Health

NAMI & Mental Health



Why is the group that you chose to research important?

The reason that I chose this topic for my assignment is because growing up no one really taught the importance of mental health to us in school. Talking about mental health was not really a subject at all. For me mental health is very important because memorial day weekend of last year my boyfriend decided to take his own life and I believe that if i would’ve known more about mental illness it could hace changed things for the both of us.

What NAMI is a brief history of them

In its mission to build healthier lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.

Since it was founded in 1979 by a dozen families gathered around a kitchen table, Mind has become the national voice for mental health. As of today, we are a coalition of over 600 local Affiliates and 48 State Organizations who mobilize resources in your community to raise awareness and provide resources for those in need that weren’t previously available.

Eventually they achieved a national name which was “The National Alliance on Mental Health”. They are now known as NAMI. As a result of their strong desire to ensure a better mental health system for all, they were unable to do so. They have collaborated with numerous organizations dedicated to the same goal, making this organization one of our largest organizations in the field of basic health.

Who do they serve?

People struggling with mental health issues can find help from this organization. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can assist anyone with mental health issues, specifically those belonging to minority groups. A number of programs are offered by the program, including “Ending the Silence” (ETS), which is an in-school presentation that offers support to those in need. Parents, spouses, children, and others are supported in “Family-to-Family” sessions which are 8 sessions long. Among other offerings are Peer-to-Peer, Family & Friends Seminars and In Our Own Voices (IOOV).

More about NAMI and Mental Health

The community of mental health organizations was the focus of my investigation. Researching this group is essential because mental health is a critical component of a child’s development, especially during teen years. Society and the public don’t seem to spend too much time talking or showing off when it comes to it. For those who are going through hard times, organizations like NAMI may prove to be helpful and helpful. Because of the gazes from their surroundings, a lot of people are reluctant to open up about their mental problems.

No matter what their race or class is, they serve those suffering through tough times. Students are guided through presentations, lectures, and individual lessons to come up with a solution together. In order to teach people how mental illness can harm and hurt someone’s and another’s life, they did presentations for students in middle schools and high schools as well as for parents and teachers. There are programs available for students and adults alike. In this way, someone is able to accept themselves exactly as they are right now.

No matter what their race or class is, they serve those suffering The organization and website could not be improved. Additionally, by providing their website in Spanish, they demonstrate that they care about other people, including minorities. Scholarships give volunteers the opportunity to not only boost their resume, but also receive some financial assistance. picky, I wish they could come tohad to be picky, I would suggest that they should come to high schools or even middle schools and hold a mental health presentation or assembly.

There was a lot of information provided by the organization. According to my search for mental health organizations online, MINA is the most prominent non-profit organization. Its website contains all of the members’ letters in pdf format. Certain illnesses are described in simple terms. Overall, I think the organization kept its vision and mission intact. The closest organization I could find is the Center for Human Services.

Numbers from the last few years

  • 21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.
  • 5.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2020 (14.2 million people). This represents 1 in 20 adults.
  • 16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people)
  • 6.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2020 (17 million people)
  • Annual prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults, by demographic group:
    • Non-Hispanic Asian: 13.9%
    • Non-Hispanic white: 22.6%
    • Non-Hispanic black or African-American: 17.3%
    • Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native: 18.7%
    • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 35.8%
    • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 16.6%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 18.4%
    • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 47.4%
  • Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:
    • Major Depressive Episode: 8.4% (21 million people)
    • Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)
    • Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
    • Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
    • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
    • Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)

Mental Health Care Matters

  • 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2020 
  • 64.5% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2020  
  • 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment in 2016  
  • The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years
  • Annual treatment rates among U.S. adults with any mental illness, by demographic group:
    • Male: 37.4%
    • Female: 51.2%
    • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 54.3%
    • Non-Hispanic Asian: 20.8%
    • Non-Hispanic white: 51.8%
    • Non-Hispanic black or African-American: 37.1%
    • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 43.0%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 35.1%
  • 11% of U.S. adults with mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2020
  • 11.3% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2020
  • 55% of U.S. counties do not have a single practicing psychiatrist
  • 134 million people live in a designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area

The Ripple Effect Of Mental Illness


  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 32.1% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2020 (17 million individuals)
  • The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (6.4%) compared to those who do not (5.1%)
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers
  • Students aged 6-17 with mental, emotional or behavioral concerns are 3x more likely to repeat a grade.


  • At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue
  • Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care
2020 Mental Health by the Numbers Youth infographic

Was it accessible? What they could improve on and similar organizations

I found all the information I needed on NAMI’s website regarding what organization does, I can contact, how I can be updated etc. At the bottom of the page, I found resource cards, referrals, opportunities to do and events I could attend. He was browsing the NAMI website and provided all the information I needed. However, I think NAMI could spread their message effectively through social media. Interacting more with their on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter Facebook would help NAMI reach a wider audience. Posting NAMI Seattle Giveaways and Fundraisers on the stories or timeline of the would help raise awareness of NAMI Seattle.

  1. The Healing Center in Seattle provides counseling treatment to young adults and teenagers to help them “discharge” emotional discomfort that has built up in their bodies. Counselors listen, interact, and keep an eye on the situation. The Healing Center’s page may be found here: HOME | co-counseling

2. Residents of King County who are suffering from mental illness will find a lot of help at NAVOS in Seattle. They offer contribution pages and events for persons of all ages who are at risk of sliding between the cracks, in addition to their crisis hotline and events. The page for NAVOS may be found here: Home – Navos


Nami Seattle | National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2022, from

Mental Health

NAMI,where everyone is welcomed.

I chose to investigate the communities of mental health organizations. The group I chose is important to research because mental health is one of the most important things to take care of during childhood, especially teenage years. However, society and the public don’t seem to show or speak about it that much. Students are afraid to speak out and ask for help. That’s why organizations like NAMI could be really helpful and useful to those who are going through tough times. Not a lot of people want to talk about their mental problems because of the gazes from surroundings even if they really need help. NAMI provides an environment  where students can actually learn about themselves and look into their mental health to fulfill better lives.

NAMI was originally created in 1978 and stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. Having more than 40 years of experience and history, NAMI is one of the greatest organizations in the nation. Their mission is to support those who are in need of help by providing education, care, referral, etc. While the society doesn’t tend to welcome those people with mental illness, NAMI provides a comfortable environment where people can talk about their feelings, about certain situations or events that they are going through and especially about themselves. They want to address the unmet needs of mental health. By treating clients with kindness and respect, NAMI leaves remarkable impacts on the community. 

NAMI Seattle | NAMIWalks
Source: NAMI Seattle|NAMIWalks

They serve those who are going through tough times regardless of their races or classes. They provide presentations, lectures, one on one lessons to guide them through so they can find the solution together. They had presentations for students at middle school and high schools and even for parents and teachers to teach how mental illness could harm and hurt someone’s and someone else’s life. They provide programs that can help identify the symptoms of certain illnesses, treat the illness and overcome it. These programs cover all ages, from students to adults. It creates a comfortable space where everyone can accept themselves as who they are right now. 

I couldn’t really find anything that could improve their organization or website. They provide their website also in Spanish which shows they really care about other people, the minority, as well. They also provide scholarships so people who volunteer not only can add something to their resume and also can get some financial help by helping others. I wish they could come to high schools or even middle schools and have a presentation or have a whole assembly about mental health. While I was in high school, students committed suicide in 3 consecutive years. If they got help from organizations like NAMI, things would be different for them.

Information about the organization was really accessible. I just searched for non profit mental health organizations and MINA was on the top of the list. The website is clear and organized. They have pdf files of letters from the members and everything. The symptoms of certain illnesses were explained simply. I couldn’t really find any red flags.  They have stories of people who went through bipolar and schizophrenia. Overall I think they did well keeping their vision and mission active.

The similar organization that I could find is Center for Human Services. They basically share the similar slogan:strengthen the community through providing counseling education and support to children and students.


Nami Seattle | National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2022, from

Center for Human Services. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved 1970, from

Disabilities, Mental Health

The Madrone School

The Madrone School

The Madrones School

The nonprofit organization that I decided to research is The Madrones School. This organization helps students that are on the spectrum of autism by proving alternative schooling and behavior analysis to help every student that goes to school. I wanted to look into alternative schools that help students with learning disabilities, but to also educate other students and classmates that there are more schools than public and private schools. The Madrone School is a private non-profit school that runs just like a public school throughout the country.

Brief History of The Madrone School

The Madrones School understands the rough history within our school systems of mental health disorders and how people who have them are made fun of and discriminated against in schools. They believe that by coming together as a school and a community they can kick that stigma in the face. This school is one of the only schools in the Seattle area that’s first priorities are the autistic students.

This is a picture of a school that has in big bold letters above the front doors “Enter Here to Grow In Wisdom”.

About The Madrone School

The Madrones School provides education for students with autism in the Seattle area. Looking throughout the website, I could not find anything that tells me what things they teach their kids or how they teach their students. The only thing that I found about the ways that they teach their students are the different types of teaching programs that they have the students go through. They have three different programs that they have their students go through, Redmond 1:1 Program, Early Intervention Program, and their Focused Instruction Program.

Personal Thoughts about The Madrone School

After researching schools for this project, I thought there were only two different types of schools that students would go to for education. Public or Private school. Although this is a private school, it’s a private school for students that have learning disabilities. When I first researched the Madrone School, I was surprised that they did not tell us the type of subjects that they teach their students.  about this organization is that they don’t tell us what is taught at the schools. There is no list of classes, projects, clubs that they have at the school to help their kids learn better.

Similar Organizations

Hamlin Robinson School

Auburn School District Student Special Services

Academy for Precision Learning

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Curriculum that is Culturally Relevant for the 21st century, Mental Health, Trauma

Free2Luv Organization

Picture source: Free2Luv.png

Why it’s important

This organization serves to put in place different programs to help reduce the amount of bullying that goes on in the educational system. The programs that they offer are meant to inspire the youth and help create better environments for education. They are dedicated to promoting individuality, celebrating equality, and spreading kindness by standing up to bullying by utilizing arts and entertainment. 

History and Purpose

They reached over 25 million people annually through global social media campaigns and have partnered with celebrities to spread awareness and create powerful community outreach events to spread the message that love is stronger than hate and braver than bullying. They have received achievement awards for community outreach, volunteerism, and positive impact on youth. They understand the difficulty that can come with expressing themselves and want to be there whenever someone hits a speedbump. Free2Luv seeks to help students find their own voice and stand out as individuals by showing that they matter.

People they serve

Their Target demographic is under-resourced youth, teens, and young adults by providing mental health support and Educational Services. They are not limited to just the educational system and have reach-out programs that allow you to become a part of their community. Other groups that they look out for are Gay, Lesbian, and bi-sexual individuals that are often severely criticized growing up. Transgender youth are more likely to be harassed and which often leads to self-harm. Free2Luv hopes to help people build self-esteem as well as self-love to help reduce the stress of growing up.

Image source:


They offer mental health empowerment programs, EXPRESS IT!, and WE CARE packages that serve to empower under-resourced youth struggling with bullying, identity, or self-harm. Free2Luv believes in having people express themselves in many different ways, as a result, their art and music program has reached more than 35,000 under-resourced youth. They host community get-togethers in schools, community centers, and festivals. They also believe that the expression of one’s story is a way to allow youth to become more comfortable with speaking out. This is aided by hosting peer-to-peer discussions about issues they might be facing with their ADVOCACY AND STORY-SHARING program.

Red flags?

I found that the distribution of funding was difficult to determine from the nonprofit organization’s front. This can be seen as a red flag due to there not being clear goals and spendings associated with donations received. Although they might not have a clear representation of the funds, I believe that the clarity that comes with being able to donate shows that they are streamlining the ability to donate. This is an organization that needs to appeal to the public eye and it has done so wonderfully. I think that discussing the budget and where the money is used in terms of programming would benefit the credibility of the nonprofit organization. Their message is broad and in some circumstances, I believe that a more specific message could be beneficial such as focusing on only particular minority groups. This is opposed to clumping together several under-resourced groups.

Similar work

The Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University of Buffalo contributes with Free2Luv by creating presentations that seek to teach other students to not fall into the bystander effect. They want you to find the courage to stand up for those that are facing bullying.

They are paired with Build-A-Bear Foundation Literacy Program which serves to help learning students and less fortunate groups receive the literary skills needed in life.

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