Based in Arlington, Virginia, NAMI is a grass-roots self-help education and advocacy organization that is a referral service for patients and their families. It connects patients to sources of professional help and personal support in their areas and provides free literature about all mental illnesses, from depression to schizophrenia.
Laurie Flynn has been executive director since 1984. NAMI was founded in 1979 by fifty-four people from around the country- members of local support organizations felt the need to form a national organization focusing on people with mental illnesses. Most of them were family members of patients who were feeling burdened by the lack of community facilities, long-term care, and insurance for the mentally ill. During this first meeting, which was sponsored by the Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Wisconsin, a hat was passed and twenty thousand dollars was collected to fund the “front end of a dream.” Today that dream has turned into an organization with 140,000 members, not counting online members, who make contributions of a million dollars every year. The board of NAMI is comprised only of patients or their family members.
You can visit their website at NAMI.org. If you wish you can write or call them at
2101 Wilson Blvd., suite 302
Arlington, VA. 22201