News & Notes: May 20, 2021


May 20, 2021

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Common Signs of Mental Illness

Calming our anxiety during this past year has been challenging. A study looked at alcohol consumption, and nearly two-thirds of the participants reported that their drinking had increased since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

How do we know if this increased alcohol consumption is temporary or something to address with a mental health professional? Recognition of the behaviors, symptoms, and conditions of mental illness is an important consideration when looking at your or another person’s mental health.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a list of common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents.

  • Anosognosia is a person’s inability to understand or perceive their own mental illness.
  • Autism often accompanies mental illness like anxiety or depression.
  • Suicide can be prevented, but suicidal thoughts often accompany mental illness.
  • Self-harm can be “used” as a coping mechanism for unmanageable mental illness symptoms.
  • Sleep disorders are often caused by anxiety, depression, and other conditions.
  • Smoking is sometimes used as a way to handle stressful life events.
  • Substance use disorders, the repeated misuse of alcohol and/or drugs, can be used by individuals with mental illness to cope with overwhelming symptoms.

Share NAMI’s resources at on your social media platforms to help family, friends, or others in need. NAMI offers free 24-hour crisis counseling. Consider supporting NAMIWalks Your Way: A United Day of Hope on May 22, by participating in the GFWC Health and Wellness Challenge Project. If you participate in NAMIWalks Your Way, be sure to submit a story with photos of your club members participating to be considered for the GFWC Blog.

Mental Health Awareness Advocate to Speak at Convention Opening Business Session

John T. Broderick, Jr. will promote awareness and understanding of mental illness at the 2021 GFWC Annual Convention Opening Business Session on Saturday, August 28. He became the Senior Director of External Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2017, and is an advocate for the R.E.A.C.T. Mental Health Awareness Campaign designed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock, which provides clear next steps for someone who sees all, or some, of the five signs of emotional suffering in another person.

Broderick was a member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 1995 to 2010, serving as Chief Justice during the last seven years. After stepping down as Chief Justice, he became Dean of the Law School at UNH. Before entering public service, he was a civil trial lawyer in private practice for over twenty years and formerly served as president of both the NH Bar Association and the NH Trial Lawyers Association. He is an honors graduate of Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia School of Law.

In 2016, Justice Broderick agreed to co-chair the first statewide launch in New Hampshire of a national mental health awareness campaign called Change Direction New Hampshire. Over the past five years, he has spoken countless times to various audiences, including students, about the most common signs of mental illness in an effort to eliminate its mythology, encourage discussion and treatment, and begin to change the unfair and shameful culture that surrounds it.

Register by June 15 to secure the Early Bird Rate through the Member Portal.

Volunteers in Action

This week’s GFWC Blog features several GFWC New Hampshire clubs, including Salem Area Woman’s Club, GFWC Hudson Women’s Club, GFWC Concord Contemporary Club, Exeter Area GFWC, Candia Community Woman’s Club, GFWC Dover Area Woman’s Club, Hollis Woman’s Club, and Nashaway Women’s Club; GFWC Brookings (South Dakota); the Women’s Club of Farmingdale (New York); and GFWC Northwest Suburban Woman’s Club (Illinois). Check out these stories about how clubwomen donated gift bags to veterans, made “soap scrubbies” for a local domestic violence shelter, provided women and children with personal care items, and participated in a Mother’s Day project for survivors of domestic abuse.

Have a success story to tell? Share your story with

Register for Webinar With AHT By May 24

The deadline to register for GFWC’s informational webinar with AHT Insurance is 12:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 24. The webinar is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 26, with Amy Miller, GFWC’s account manager at AHT Insurance. The webinar will include an overview of AHT Insurance; a discussion covering the types of insurance available to GFWC clubs, General Liability, Directors & Officers, and Event Insurance; and a question and answer session.

The cost to attend the webinar is $15, and members can register through the GFWC Member Portal.

GFWC Member Portal FAQs Now Available

Clubwomen have access to a wealth of information, resources, GFWC merchandise, and fun and informative events through the GFWC Member Portal. Whether you are wondering how to sign up for an account of your own, register for a webinar, purchase items from Marketplace, or want to learn more about GFWC Community Service Programs in the Club Manual, you can find answers to these questions and more by checking out the new Member Portal FAQ page.

This resource, which is published within the GFWC Resources section of, includes sections on general GFWC Member Portal inquiries, navigating the Digital Library, registering for GFWC events, and placing orders with Marketplace. The step-by-step answers will help guide you through many common questions and concerns regarding the GFWC Member Portal, from resetting your account password to accessing GFWC logos, emblems, and icons.

However, if you can’t find the answer you are looking for in the Member Portal FAQs, please don’t hesitate to email and someone will assist you with your inquiry as soon as possible.

View the Annual Program Statistics Report

Have you viewed the most recent data available in the 2020 Annual Program Statistics Report within the News & Publications section of yet? Each year, GFWC calculates the total amount of projects, volunteer hours, and both in-kind and dollars donated for the work of its clubs. In addition to the total calculations, the data is broken down between each of the GFWC Special and Community Service Programs and the Advancement Plans that were active in the 2020 calendar year. We are excited to share the hard work of clubwomen throughout the past year with you.

For questions about this data, email

State President’s Project: Debbie Fiore, Connecticut

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is also the focus of GFWC Connecticut State President Debbie Fiore’s project. Mental health awareness was chosen as the state project before the pandemic, but has proven to be increasingly necessary with the rise of mental illness due to the pandemic. The trauma of losing the pre-pandemic lifestyle has made it necessary for people to learn to cope with anxiety and depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has the resources to help and GFWC Connecticut has partnered with them.

Caring Cards is a project that is part of NAMI Connecticut’s Suicide Prevention Initiative, which helps support the transition of people who are in a suicidal crisis as they continue their journey toward recovery. Members write hopeful messages on the cards, sign their first name, and send them back to NAMI. The cards will be received by young people entering and exiting mental health treatment related to suicidal thoughts and attempts. Because of the support from the clubs, NAMI will be expanding this project to new locations and hope to reach every in-patient psychiatric program in the state.

Many GFWC Connecticut clubs are joining NAMIWalks Your Way Connecticut on May 22, and raising funds in their communities, some are even doing remote walks. At the state meetings, there were speakers from NAMI and GFWC Affiliate Organization Canine Companions for Independence. Monetary donations have been given to both organizations to support their programs.

GFWC Connecticut is recognizing the importance of self-care by sponsoring two walking/exercise contests among clubs for physical and mental health. Any exercise is encouraged, with clubs keeping track of members’ activities and offering prizes.

GFWC Woman’s Club of Enfield partnered with Healthtrax and sponsored NAMIWalks Your Way Connecticut. The club also used this opportunity to promote membership.

GFWC Marketplace: International Pin

GFWC clubwomen aren’t just throughout the United States but around the world! The International Pin represents the beautiful bonds that have been made with GFWC International Affiliates and is the perfect way to celebrate Unity in Diversity. Order yours today.

There have been reports of mail service delays in many communities throughout the United States. GFWC staff is processing Marketplace orders as quickly as possible, but Headquarters is still operating with limited staff onsite daily. In order to speed up processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at time of purchase in the Member Portal. For details on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page.