Mayor Ed Burtner spoke at the rally and commended NAMI for its efforts in Clark County.
"(NAMI has done) outstanding work in raising awareness on an extremely important issue," said Burtner.
Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham read a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Month. Both he and Burtner were recognized for their assistance in bringing attention to mental health issues.
County Attorney Brian Thomas was the featured speaker. He stressed the importance of this year's Mental Health Month theme, "See Me as a Person."
NAMI hopes to change the perception of mental illness in society and help sufferers to gain greater acceptance. Thomas noted that understanding of mental illness is "growing beyond the confines of our homes" and that sufferers are "first and foremost individuals." Thomas also stressed the need for more education.
Local law enforcement agencies also received awards for their participation in crisis intervention training, which teaches officers how to better handle situations involving the mentally ill. The training is meant to increase safety for both officers and mental illness sufferers.
Sergeant Tony Kirk from the Winchester City Police Department, Officer Paul Howard of the Clark County Sheriff's Office and Keith Mullikin and Johnny Graves, Clark County Schools resource officers, were all honored at the rally.
NAMI secretary Vicki Lee said one of the greatest resources NAMI offers is the bi-monthly support group meetings, held at the Victory Heights Achievement Center the first and third Monday of each month. She said being around others who know firsthand what it's like to suffer from mental illness can be extremely beneficial.
"It's so exciting . Everybody knows everything you're talking about," said Lee.
All NAMI representatives are volunteers who have dealt with mental illness themselves or have family members who are sufferers.
Annual membership is $35 for individuals and families. Reduced rates are available for those on a fixed income.
To find out more about NAMI or local mental health education programs, call (859) 744-6985 or (859) 737-3384.