Nick Emeigh’s NAMI Man Revisited: A Super Hero Story
In the opening sequence for the new NAMI Man movie, you will see a different kind of superhero in action. Instead of busting through doors, NAMI Man is busting stigma. Instead of chasing down bad guys, NAMI Man is connecting people to services—a support group or an education program—where they can find community and feel less alone in the world. Instead of holding press conferences, NAMI Man is holding space for someone who was hurting, listening with compassion and without judgement. And, perhaps most powerfully of all, NAMI Man is talking, sharing the story about his own difficult mental health journey in hopes of helping others understand that all of our stories (and journeys) have value. “I don’t want anyone else to die from mental illness or suicide or addiction because they’re afraid to talk about it.”
I can’t wait for you to meet Nick Emeigh (and his alter ego NAMI Man—the world’s only mental health superhero), the Associate Executive Director of NAMI Bucks County, PA—the small but mighty chapter of the national organization called NAMI. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a US-based advocacy group originally founded as a grassroots group by family members of people diagnosed with mental illness. Nick Emeigh’s life journey has brought him to this work.
“A lot of what I bring to NAMI is from my own lived experience. It wasn’t quite so easy for me,” says Nick Emeigh. “I work really hard because I should have died three times. I shouldn’t be here. I had three suicide attempts and I struggled so badly for so long that I don’t feel like I really lived, so now I’m living. This is my life. This is my purpose.”
In this filmed portrait, we see Nick in action as he and his colleagues ready for the annual NAMI Bucks County Stride for Mental Health—a fundraising and community-building day of action (including a 5K walk) that raises money to support NAMI’s recovery-focused support and education programs (which include the NAMI Online Support Groups, Peer-to- Peer Education, Family-to-Family Education, Say It Out Loud School Programs, Ending the Silence Presentations, In Our Own Voice Presentations, Veteran’s Programs and the NAMI HelpLine). The day makes all of that good work possible. It’s also an event that creates community, where people feel connected and supported. And, for some strange reason, wherever Nick Emeigh is, NAMI Man always makes an appearance.
It’s a joy to watch Nick Emeigh/NAMI Man living his purpose, living it fully — complete with mask, cape, a huge heart, and a terrific laugh.