The 2009 spring issue of the NAMI Advocate Magazine features a cover story about two conversations Matt Kunz of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) had with President Barack Obama on the mental health needs of America's veterans.

The cover photo shows Obama sitting at a picnic table in a park in Billings, Montana talking with Matt, his wife Sandy and their infant daughter during the 2008 campaign. Inside the issue, Kuntz also shares the conversation he had with the President aboard the Inaugural train, where he presented him with a religious medal to help him through hard times, and one to Mrs. Obama to protect their family.

Faith, family and hope are also prominent themes in the issue's other features.

For instance, Joyce Cooling , one of the nation's leading jazz musicians, recalls her brother's schizophrenia and their parents holding NAMI meetings in their home. Cooling will perform at NAMI's annual convention in San Francisco on July 7, 2009. Her latest album, Global Cooling,was released last month.

The theme of hope continues in this issue of NAMI's Advocate Magazine, with a feature on NAMI's "Sharing Hope" initiative that is reaching out to African American congregations. Robert Dr. John H. Harris, Jr., pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton, NJ is quoted in the piece, "Just as we never thought we would have an African American president…It's time for us to come out of the dark ages in dealing with mental illness."

The issue also provides an update regarding the popular NAMIWalks, which have begun in earnest this month in communities around the country. More than 100,000 walkers are expected to participate, a tenfold increase from just a few years ago! Walkers hope to raise an estimated $8.5 million for local NAMI programs.


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