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NAMI Sauk Area working to provide mental health services to 4-county area

Daily Gazette - 4/20/2024

Apr. 20—STERLING — The goal of NAMI Sauk Area is, at its core, simple: work within the community to provide as much mental health support as possible.

NAMI Sauk Area officially became an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and NAMI Illinois in 2010. Now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it serves Ogle, Lee, Carroll and Whiteside counties.

First formed in 1979 around a kitchen table, NAMI now is "the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness," according to

"It was just families that were seeking help and just decided to start at the grassroots and come up," NAMI Sauk Area co-President Maggie Wike said.

Those who are part of NAMI on the national level are the ones working with legislators and advocating for people with mental illness, Wike said. They also are the ones developing the programs NAMI Sauk Area offers, she said.


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Maggie Wike, co-president for the National Alliance for Mental Illness Sauk Area, speaks about the organization's efforts Friday, April 12, 2024, during an open house for NAMI Sauk Area's new office in Sterling. (Alex T. Paschal)

NAMI Illinois provides the education to local affiliates such as NAMI Sauk Area to be able to offer and facilitate the programs developed by NAMI, as well as speak publicly, Wike said.

"We are the worker bees," she said of the local volunteers, who are called stigma busters.

The core of what NAMI Sauk Area provides is various peer-led, 18-plus support groups, Wike said. She noted that, to do any kind of leading or speaking at a NAMI event, training is first required.

Family Support Groups provide support for anyone who has a loved one or friend living with a mental health condition, Wike said.

"[We're] hoping that we can make people stronger so that they can be stronger for their loved ones and friends," she said.

The Survivors of Suicide Support Group is for adults who have lost a loved one or friend to suicide, Wike said. It is led by co-President Cheryl Robinson.

Starting in June, there will be a virtual family support group for parents and grandparents of youths who have mental health conditions or are neurodivergent, Wike said.

Connections Recovery Support Groups are for anyone 18 or older who is living with a mental health condition, she said. There soon will be three such groups, one of which meets virtually, Wike said.

Support groups

Connection Recovery Support Groups

* From 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first Monday of each month starting in June, Living Well Church, 116 E. First St., Dixon

* From 6 to 7:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month starting in June, Immanuel Lutheran Church, 501 Eighth Ave., Rock Falls

* From 6:30 to 9 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month, virtual, limited to 10 participants

Survivors of Suicide Support Group

* From 6:30 to 8 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month, Crossroads Community Church, 201 W. Market St., Morrison

Family Support Groups

* From 6:30 to 8 p.m. the second Thursday of each month, Faith Lutheran Church, 14206 E. Flagg Road, Rochelle

* From 6:30 to 8 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month, St. John's Lutheran Church, 703 Third Ave., Sterling

* From noon to 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month starting in June, virtual, limited to 10 participants

For information, visit


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