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Why I Stay...

A community writing and storytelling project giving voice to mental health struggles & successes.


Storytelling is an act of bravery and vulnerability.

Why I Stay… seeks to document the stories of people who have lived experience with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The program is meant to be accessible to all - no prior writing experience is necessary! During the seven week program, facilitators lead storytellers in creative writing exercises, the process of story-writing, and provide editing help.

Why I Stay Stories

Spring 2022

Teija's Story

Spring 2022

Francesca's Story

Fall 2021

Muriel's Story

Spring 2022

Elise's Story

Fall 2021

Dylan's Story

Fall 2021

Imogene's Story

Want to add your story?

The first cohort of WIS is open to all University of Alaska Southeast students. Anyone who has experience with mental illness can join. Cohorts can have up to 10 students. In the future, NAMI Juneau will expand to create cohorts from Juneau high schools as well.


Why I Stay is a collaboration between NAMI Juneau and UAS. In this seven-week program, students will work with writing facilitators to craft their narrative of mental health struggles and successes, including challenges brought on by Covid19. Through these stories, students will be able to use their personal experiences to destigmatize mental health struggles and help others know that they are not alone. Writing assistance will be provided throughout the project. The group will meet Fridays on Zoom, except for the week of Spring Break, from February 12th to April 3rd at 2:30-4:30 pm. Participating students will receive a $250 stipend, and share their stories, anonymously if they wish, on a NAMI Juneau website.

To find out more, please contact NAMI Juneau by phone: (907) 463-4251 or email:

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