The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), along with its state and local affiliates, provides mental health education, sponsors local support groups and advocates for those living with mental health disorders. Founded in 1979, it’s the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. NAMI is dedicated to the eradication of mental illnesses and to the improvement of the quality of life for persons of all ages who are affected by mental illnesses.
What does NAMI do?
Education and support
NAMI provides mental health education through online articles on topics such as mental illness, medication, research and public policy. There are programs and support for people living with mental health disorder, their friends and family, health care providers and the general public.
Online discussion groups offer a place for people with common interests to stay informed on the topics that interest them, while sharing knowledge and finding support from people who’ve been there.
NAMI has a state organization in all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. There are also more than 1,200 local affiliates across the country. The NAMI website helps you find one near you. Local offices offer education programs, such as one offered recently by NAMI Denver on Social Security Disability benefits.
Local support groups provide opportunities for people living with mental illness to learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding. NAMI events include local Community Walks draw thousands of concerned citizens every year who walk together in over sixty communities across the nation to raise money and awareness about mental illness. NAMI offers opportunities to become a volunteer at the national or local level.
StigmaBusters responds to inaccurate and hurtful language and portrayals of mental illness in the media and promotes understanding and respect for those who live with mental illness. NAMI offers opportunities to get involved in fighting stigma and supporting state and federal public and private-sector policies that advocate for those living with mental illness. You can get updates on legislation on their website. The organization offers legal support and referral on behalf of individuals with severe mental illness and their families.
NAMI’s Helpline (1-800-950-6264) is staffed by a dedicated team and serves over 4,000 callers per month.