Danei Edelen uses the NAMI AIR app to stay connected to supportive resources wherever she is.
Nine years ago, Danei Edelen was established in her career as a marketing executive and happily raising a family with her husband in Ohio. Then something unexpected happened. “After five nights of no sleep, hallucinations, I sought hospitalization,” Danei said. She subsequently learned she had experienced a psychotic break caused by an underlying and undiagnosed mental illness called bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that causes shifts in mood and energy level. One in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental health issue in a given year and one in twenty-five lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Danei is now working again, however, maintaining her well-being is a daily challenge. She regularly attends a mental health support group called Connections, part of a national network created in 2007 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with founding support from AstraZeneca. Danei credits much of her success to support she has received from others experiencing similar mental health challenges. Since the inception of Connections, more than 45,000 patients and caregivers have benefitted from the program.
Not everyone can attend an in-person support group and sudden shifts in mood and mental stability can occur at any time. To help those living with mental illness, AstraZeneca is now supporting NAMI to offer a 24/7 virtual community through a mobile application called NAMI AIR. AIR stands for Anonymous, Inspiring, Relatable. “The AIR app fills a void in our ability to deliver support and allows us to reach a wider audience through a new platform,” said Mary Giliberti, Executive Director for NAMI.
The NAMI AIR application extends the peer-to-peer support that has made Connections so successful to anyone who has a mobile phone. AIR provides a community where users can anonymously share experiences and stories, offer support to others who may need it, and connect to professional resources.
In just one year, NAMI AIR has attracted more than 11,000 users and the community is growing steadily. The app is also providing a steady referral service to NAMI’s in-person support groups and to their hotline. As Giliberti said, “We [NAMI] are grateful to the AstraZeneca team for thinking ’outside of the box’ and developing this important project with us, which aligns so well with our mutual interests.”
AstraZeneca’s partnership with NAMI is part of our commitment to make a meaningful difference for patients and communities beyond our medicines. “Addressing patient needs such as social and emotional support are central to our commitment to putting patients first,” said Catherine Datto, Medical Lead, Neuroscience at AstraZeneca. “NAMI has been an excellent partner for more than ten years, helping us to deliver on this commitment for those struggling with mental health challenges. We are honored to continue to grow and evolve our work together to continue responding to patient needs.”
You can learn more and download the NAMI AIR App from the App store for iPhone or Google Play for Android.