The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will hold its Seventh Annual NAMIWalks event in Santa Monica Saturday, Oct. 2.

The NAMIWalks “Changing Minds One Step at a Time” is a nationwide fundraising mental health awareness program. NAMI is a grassroots, self-help, support, education and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of all those affected with serious mental illness and to eradicate the stigma that is associated with mental illness.

Among the attendees at this year’s event will be Dr. Marvin Southard, the honorary chairperson serving Los Angeles County. Major sponsors for this year’s walk include: Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Wells Fargo Bank, LA Care Health Plan, Aetna Foundation, and Clearview Treatment Center.

Proceeds from the walkathon will be used to benefit the 12 participating affiliates in Los Angeles County offering free programs that educate, support and advocate for improved mental health treatment and recovery.

Check-in for the 5K walkathon begins at 8 a.m., with the official start time scheduled at 10 a.m. at the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica.

There is no registration fee to walk. All walkers raising $100 or more will receive a NAMIWalks event T-shirt.

NAMI’s signature programs, such as Family to Family, In Our Own Voice, NAMI Basics and NAMI Peer to Peer, are free to anyone.