Mental Health During COVID-19

Muguette Guenneguez is the executive director of NAMI Seattle, an affiliate of National Alliance on Mental Illness. Muguette sat down with us to talk about mental health in the time of COVID-19 and her collaboration with the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

“There are no words to describe how impacted our communities have been by this crisis, from the youngest people to the oldest people,” Muguette said. “What is going to be normal? You don’t know. This uncertainty is taking a toll on everyone, and we want to be there for the community to offer support. We have trainings, workshops that we have available online for people and businesses for them to offer support to their staff, their colleagues.”

Muguette works to support her community every day, designing next steps and coordinating efforts to connect people with resources. Later this month, she will join the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict for their Community Tea series to promote ways individuals can take care of themselves during this crisis.

“I don’t have all the answers, but I think we need to shield our children from some of the information out there – maybe we need to shield ourselves from some of the information out there too,” Muguette said. “Take ten minutes to catch up on the news, and then walk away. Eat balanced diets; refrain from drinking too much. Connect with friends and family.”

Muguette also encourages families to make the most of this time together.

“Some families enjoy cooking together, some families enjoy playing board games together, some families enjoy watching movies together. Whatever it is, do it together,” Muguette said. “I would also say that it’s important to have those conversations with parents, friends, people you cannot see. It’s important to keep those relationships going. It’s also important to do the things that centered you before – whether it was meditation, whether it was praying – continue doing it within the confine of your home, if possible. Myself, I love to garden. Anytime I have a free moment, I rush to the garden because this is where I love to be. People have to do what’s best for them.”

NAMI was started in 1979 by Eleanor Owen. Today, 41 years later, it is an association with more than 800 affiliates. NAMI Seattle works in three focused areas: educating communities, offering support to those dealing with mental illness, and advocacy.

“Advocacy is quite important because in raising awareness and supporting people, we need our elected officials and the community at large to know how important it is to support all community members who are dealing with mental illness,” Muguette said. “People with mental illness can lead, actually do lead, very successful and fulfilling lives, but they need the support of the community for that to happen.”

NAMI Seattle has a variety of support groups that meet throughout the Seattle area. There are peer-to-peer groups; support groups for family members; and groups that highlight the voices, stories, and lived experiences of those who have mental illnesses.

“That people are talking about these issues, that might be the silver lining of this pandemic,” Muguette said. “They’re not necessarily saying the words ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety,’ but you can tell that this has affected them in a very emotional way. This is not the way we would have hoped to start the conversation, but we will take it from there.”

Homeless Service Resource Guide

Akeyla Jimerson, one of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Community Development Associates, put together a Homeless Service Resource Guide to help community members learn best practices in supporting Seattle’s unhoused population. All emergent needs should be addressed to Mickey Humphrey, the local Homeless Service Coordinator. Mickey is available for questions and resource referrals at 206-487-4553. The resource guide includes two documents with additional information. The first is pictured below.

Seattle Business Organizations Symposium

Capitol Hill Housing has long worked to support small businesses, which are part of any healthy community. A focus of our work on 12th Avenue has been raising the profile of small businesses, and the neighborhood has thrived. We encourage you to consider joining City Council President Sally Clark’s symposium in September.

Friday, September 20, 2013, 8:00am – Noon
Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room, First Floor Lobby

Seattle City Council President Sally J. Clark invites you to a morning of information, networking and inspiration. The first ever Seattle Business Organizations Symposium will provide a variety of resources and advice on how to help business organizations grow and be more successful.

  • A panel discussion with reporters and public relations experts on how to get more and better media coverage.
  • A lightening round of keynote presentations on how business organizations can grow while helping their business districts.
  • A case study on how Pioneer Square became Seattle’s newest trendy neighborhood.
  • A resource fair of services for neighborhood chambers and business organizations.

Whether you’re on the board or staff of a business organization or a business owner or manager concerned about your business district, this event is for you. Admission is free. Breakfast snacks, coffee and tea provided.

To RSVP or for more information contact David Yeaworth in the office of Seattle City Council President Sally J. Clark at 206-684-5328.

Advocating for housing

Capitol Hill Housing Foundation joined more than 650 advocates from around the state in Olympia on February 11 for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day. Participants attended workshops, rallied on the steps of the capitol, and met with legislators to share their stories.

Advocacy doesn’t stop after a visit to Olympia! There are a number of ways to stay involved throughout the legislative session to be sure our leaders know how important it is to support housing.

We encourage you to urge your elected officials to support $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund in this biennium’s Capital Budget. And at the Federal level, you can advocate for maintaining Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are a key funding tool for affordable housing developments.

Learn more about how you can advocate for crucial housing policies through the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.