When it comes to mental health, there are countless organizations that help those in need it. One of the largest is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI. While NAMI is not a new organization, it’s popularity has grown over the years as more people discuss mental health and its importance. NAMI began in 1979 as a small group of families gathered to discuss the importance of mental health. Since then, it has grown into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. NAMI currently has over 600 local affiliates and 49 state organizations. They work in communities to raise awareness and provide support for those that fall victim to mental illness.
The vision of NAMI is to work towards a world where all people impacted by mental illness can be supported by a community that cares. Their mission is to provide advocacy, education, support, and public awareness to all that need it. The values of NAMI move the organization closer to their mission and vision. They value hope and believe in the possibility of recovery and wellness. Another value that is highlighted in their mission is inclusion. NAMI embraces diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. NAMI promotes empowerment by helping individuals find confidence and self-efficacy. Compassion is also important in their mission. They do this through the practicing of respect, kindness, and empathy. Finally, NAMI believes in fairness and fights for equity and social justice.
When NAMI began in the 1970’s, they focused on family support groups around the country. They sought out answers and treatments for loved ones impacted by mental illness. A group in California transformed into an organization called Parents of Adult Schizophrenics. This was a nonprofit association that eventually changed its name to The Alliance for the Mentally Ill of San Mateo. This local group grew and sparked a national movement. This group would grow through the years, advocating for more research, greater support, and public awareness. This organization would become the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI would eventually be appointed to the National Mental Health Advisory Council in 1982.
Throughout the years, NAMI has launched several programs that are still utilized today. In 1999, NAMI Family Support Group was launched. This program is a peer-led support group for adults with loved ones experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Between 2001-2003, NAMI launched its Peer-to-Peer program. This is a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions looking to better understand their recovery. In 2018, NAMI launched their Family and Friends seminar. These seminars inform and support people who have a loved one with mental health conditions. This is currently in the pilot phase, so it is only available in certain states.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the leading organization for education and support in the country. They provide assistance to help those who battle with mental illness as well as those who love someone with mental illness. NAMI is a wonderful resource for those dealing with any sort of mental illness in life. For more information on what NAMI provides, check out their website at www.NAMI.org.