In 2007, Michael Hogan, the Chair of then President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental
Health remarked at a meeting in Ohio that NAMI Athens was “One of the best small, rural NAMI’s in the country.” By that
time, NAMI Athens was hard at work on a stigma-busting $100,000 plus project to restore and refurbish three old mental hospital cemeteries on the Ridges and to build a Nature Trail between them. It also was teaching free night courses for persons with adult loved-ones with mental illnesses, parents of youth with mental illnesses, and person in recovery from mental illnesses; helping to conduct very successful week-long CIT training for police; holding conferences; doing mental health segments for WOUB’s “Conversations from Studio B”.
In the following years it would continue to receive awards and recognition. In 2008, the CIT Program in which NAMI Athens is involved was recognized by the Ohio Department of Mental Health as the “CIT Program of the Year”. In 2009, ODMH Director Sandy Stephenson, after visiting the Cemeteries Project, awarded NAMI an additional $5,000 for its maintenance. In 2010, NAMI Ohio recognized NAMI Athens as “Affiliate of the Year”. That same year, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray named NAMI Board member, Tom Walker, the “2010 State of Ohio CIT Champion of the Year” – an honor which Walker accepted in the name of the SE Ohio CIT Committee as a whole. In 2011, the Ohio Historical Society gave NAMI Athens and the Ridges Cemeteries Project a Preservation Merit Award for “the renovation and restoration of the Ridges Cemeteries.” And throughout the years, NAMI has received grants from the O’Bleness Foundation and the Athens Foundation.