NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is another organization I wish I knew about when our son Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’m posting this here, mostly in words directly from NAMI’s website, to honor Paul’s memory in the month of his birth. Hopefully, it will help others who are suffering with mental illness in their families.


According to NAMI, it is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need. NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.

NAMI’s History

Since its inception in 1979, NAMI has established itself as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. Dedication, steadfast commitment and unceasing belief in the NAMI’s mission have produced profound changes. NAMI has been the driving force behind a national investment in lifesaving research, parity for mental health care, increased housing and to ensure that treatments and services are available to those in need when they need them most. NAMI awareness efforts have successfully addressed the stigma of mental illness, ensuring the decrease of barriers to treatment and recovery.

“NAMI’s signature education programs have served as a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of families and individuals. And NAMI’s support efforts expand to meet the challenges of a changing world by supporting virtual communities of help and hope to millions through and NAMI’s social media channels.

What NAMI Does

NAMI offers the understanding that only those with the lived experience of mental illness can provide. Together with our grassroots volunteers, we work every day to provide help and hope to millions of Americans in the areas of:

Support, Education, Awareness, Advocacy, Research

Every day, we reach out and respond to those in need to ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators are served. NAMI is tireless in our efforts to equip and train grassroots volunteer facilitators who provide individual and family support groups in thousands of communities across America. Through the toll-free NAMI HelpLine, we respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free referral, information and support a much-needed lifeline for many.

Public awareness events and activities including Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), NAMIWalks, and other efforts, successfully combat stigma, promote awareness and encourage understanding. By responding to current news events as they happen, NAMI ensures that media reporting is compassionate, understanding and accurate in portrayals of mental illness NAMI promotes solutions.

Each day, NAMI effectively shapes the national public policy landscape for people with mental illness and their families and equips grassroots volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states.

NAMI reaches out to our country’s youth and young adults, helping to shape the next generation’s experiences with recovery, encouraging a better tomorrow for all Americans. Recognizing the unique needs of our American heroes and their families, NAMI aggressively reaches out to help offer free and essential NAMI education and support group programs in thousands of local communities.

NAMI actively promotes mental health care, support and a caring community for our veterans, their spouses and their children. Tirelessly promoting research, as they have done for decades, NAMI ensures solutions for early intervention, improved treatments and, eventually, a cure for mental illness.

Contact NAMI here:

3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100 Arlington, VA 22203 Main: (703) 524-7600 Fax: (703) 524-9094 Member Services: (888) 999-6264 Helpline: (800) 950-6264

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