With more than 220,000 members, NAMI is the nation's leading grassroots advocacy organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of persons with severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and severe anxiety disorders.
Since its first meeting in 1979, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has become the nation's leading grassroots, self-help and family advocacy organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.
NAMI has built its organization on four cornerstones: support, education, advocacy, and research. With more than 220,000 members and 1,200 state and local affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Canada, NAMI's members work to bring hope and progress to thousands of people with severe mental illnesses.
Part of NAMI's success has been its ability to influence how Americans think about mental illnesses. NAMI's Campaign to End Discrimination is an effort to educate the public, challenge negative stereotypes, confront discrimination, and demand fair policies from informed elected officials and policy makers. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with brain disorders by working to ensure that they are treated with dignity, and securing on their behalf non-discriminatory access to quality health care, housing, education, and employment opportunities. The Campaign focuses on three key messages: mental illnesses are brain disorders, treatment works and is affordable, and discrimination is wrong.
The Campaign has made remarkable strides. National and local legislators are helping to lead the fight for equal access to treatment. Media are educating the public about brain disorders through fair and accurate reporting. And increasingly, Hollywood is recognizing its responsibility to end sensational portrayals of people with mental illness.
Children with mental illness have long been overlooked by the medical community. As few as one in five children with mental illness actually receives treatment. Through its Resource Catalog, NAMI offers parents a collection of books and videos on mental illness, including titles specifically dedicated to child and adolescent brain disorders. Last year, more than 75,000 people called NAMI's toll-free HelpLine and thousands more received support, information, and referral services directly through one of its state and local affiliates.
To learn more about NAMI, call 800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit their website [www.nami.org].