Walking With “The Bronxters” to Support Mental Health

 

The journey to help increase awareness and raise funds to improve the lives of roughly 60 million people in the U.S. living with mental illness got a boost recently when we sponsored a team from the Bronx District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This team raised more than $5,500 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ NAMIWalk NYC 2014.

Imagine this scene: On a picture perfect May day in New York City, about 20 mental health professionals dubbed “The Bronxters” plus a PRMS staff member joined a throng of thousands for the walk to help break down stereotypes surrounding mental illness. The event began with speeches and a raucous pep rally at South Street Seaport Museum Promenade in Lower Manhattan before travelling across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and back.

“The Bronxters” consisted of mostly third and fourth year psychiatry residents from Montefiore Medical Center – as well as clinical staff from North Bronx Healthcare Network. The team was deftly organized by Dr. Laura Gardner, PGY-MMC, and Bronx District Branch President Dr. Maryann Popiel, Vice Chairperson and Associate Director of Psychiatry and Director of Inpatient Psychiatry at North Bronx Healthcare Network at Jacobi Medical Center. Megan Rogers, Executive Director of the Bronx District Branch, also took part in the walk.

“The Bronx APA is very appreciative of the work that NAMI does for our patients and their families and we wanted to support them by organizing this team,” Dr. Popiel said, adding that the team is most appreciative of PRMS’ financial contribution, design and purchase of T-shirts and other support.

Chris Torre, a PRMS account advisor in Arlington, Va., even came to NYC to represent us. “We try to support the APA district branches any way we can and this was a really good cause,” he said. Torre also has more personal reasons. His mother, diagnosed with a mental illness, succumbed to it in 1995 when Torre was 20 years old. “Unfortunately, treatment options weren’t as readily available at the time,” Torre said.

“The Bronxters” work passionately and tirelessly to create and sustain quality care for their patients. But on this day, it was time to kick back, meet colleagues from other mental health organizations, and support an important cause.

“Everyone had fun,” Dr. Popiel reflected. “It was a wonderful time for a great cause.”

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