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Raising Awareness about the Connection between Kidney Disease and Mental Health 

With the month of May our annual opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, staff from the Northwest Kidney Council were grateful to attend the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk in Portland, Oregon last weekend. For our team, the event was a good reminder about the connection between chronic kidney disease and mental health. 


Elected officials, mental health advocates, families, and patients all attended the NAMI Walk, and many spoke about their journeys with mental health. While there certainly are policies and initiatives that can help those suffering with mental illness, the overarching theme of the day as to simply end the stigma around mental health.  


As patients, providers, and caregivers within the kidney community well know, there is a direct connection between mental health disorders and kidney disease. Common conditions like depression and anxiety have a heightened risk of developing in patients that are also navigating kidney health problems — and for people with mental illness, kidney disease is also more likely. 


The reasons behind this association are many, and can include factors such as unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, medication side effects, and the physiological impact of managing a chronic disease. 


The Northwest Kidney Council has compiled resources on our website from partners and other stakeholders that help kidney patients identify, manage, and treat mental illness. Check out our full list of resources here


Above all, the NAMI Walk was a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of talking about our mental health. By doing so, we can continue to build a healthcare system that supports all aspects of a patient's well-being. 


If you have a story you want to share about your journey with mental health, reach out to us any time. We amplify patient stories on our website and share them with elected officials to underscore the importance of the work they do on behalf of kidney patients.  


For questions about sharing your story, contact the Northwest Kidney Council or email


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