b'FROM OUR NAMI TENNESSEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR2022 Our Year in ReviewAs I look back upon the past 12 months for NAMI Tennessee, I reflect upon a year of growth, opportunity, and challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and continues to have a profound impact upon mental health for individuals, communities, and families. Physically, the pandemic continues to impact our work as well.While some activities such as NAMIWalks Tennessee and our 36th Annual State Convention are beginning to take place in-person, much of our work continuesJeff Fladento take place virtually. Working remotely brings challenges for affiliates and ourExecutive Directorstate organization; however, we have risen to meet this challengeour board,NAMI Tennesseestaff,volunteers,andleaderscontinuetoreflectourresilienceandgrowth during these challenging times.Support groups, classes, teacher training, presentations, board meetings, and affiliate leadership ef-forts have all thrived online. In the same way that our society has become more comfortable with virtual health supports like telemedicine, I have seen the NAMI Tennessee community take our efforts to the next level via the virtual space. And yet we must acknowledge that these virtual efforts bring both advantages and disadvantages. For example, folks that cannot travel can participate from home, saving both time and money. But at the same time, nothing can replace the depth of connection that is only possible when we meet in-person. We miss gathering in-person regularly and expect a hybrid of both going forward.Highlights of the past year feature several new developments including:n Expansion of online communications with NAMI Tennessees outreach on Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTuben Securing of funding from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to expand our affiliates through paid staffn Increased outreach and development of new CIT programs throughout the staten Advocacy to improve mental health workforce shortages, implementation of 988, education around legislation, and mental health parity education n Increased focus upon Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to improve access to mental health services for more Tennesseansn Increased focus on youth and young adult mental health via online networking andpresentations to local communitiesNAMI Tennessee seeks to address the evolving needs of these current times while continuing to stay true to our roots. This includes recruiting and training volunteer teachers and presenters, providing support and assistance to NAMI affiliates, and maintaining our focus on the needs of caregivers and communities, including those impacted by the criminal justice system.And ever as we stay true to our mission, I expect the pace of changes in the future to quicken. I am proud that the board and staff of NAMI Tennessee are working diligently to increase our reach and our effectiveness in an ever-changing world.'