The National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI], founded in 1979, is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons and their families living with serious mental illness. NAMI has organizations in every state and in over 1100 local communities across the country who join together to meet the NAMI mission through advocacy, research, support and education. Another grassroots organization, Mental Health America [MHA], formerly the National Mental Health Association, established in 1909 by a former pschiatric patient, Clifford W. Beers, in reaction to the abuse which he experienced and witnessed in stays in private and public institutions started a reform movement that took shape as Mental Health America which is dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. MHA has over 320 affiliates nationwide and works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million individuals with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, reserch and service. Obviously, there is some overlap in purpose, but today NAMI is more focused on the seriosly mentally ill and is specifically dedicated to the eradication of mental illnesses and to the improvement of the quality of life of all whose lives are affected by these diseases.
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