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NAMI...National Alliance on Mental Illness

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness (also known as N AMI ) was founded in 1979 as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. NAMI is a nation-wide American advocacy group representing families and people affected by mental illnesses is a non-profit grass roots organization and has affiliates in every American state and in thousands of local communities in the country. NAMI's mission is to provide support, education, advocacy, and research for people and their families living with mental illness through various public education and awareness activities.

Any family can find themselves dealing with a mentally ill family member. This was the reason for the start of NAMI. Needing support in dealing with their mentally ill family members parents turned to each other for answers . The federal government started Community Support Programs (CSP) to de-institutionalization the mental health program. During the Learning Community Conferences (LCCs) NAMI was encouraged to help with the CSP's goals to educate and support in the rehabilitation process. NAMI members not only advocated for their own children but for others. Constance Walker served 22 years in the Navy and her son Mike joined the army but became mentally ill. Walker being a member of NAMI submitted a statement to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs United States Senate about veteran mental health accessibility .

Some alarming statistics everyone should be aware of:

  • 20% of children and adolescents in the USA suffer from from a mental illness. Of these children, only 1in 5 receives services- 80% fail to receive needed treatment.

  • An alarming 65% of boys and 75% of girls in juvenile detention have at least one psychiatric diagnosis. These youth have fallen through the cracks in the health care, education and child welfare systems.

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds . Over 90% of children and adolescents who commit suicide have a mental illness.

  • By the year 2020 childhood neuropsychiatric disorders will rise proportionately by over 50% to become one of the five most common causes of morbidity, mortality and disability among children.

  • Our nation has approximately 6,300 child and adolescent psychiatrists with a need at 32,000.

  • School professionals must be trained to recognize the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.

  • When compared with other diseases, including cancer and heart disease, mental illness ranks first in causing disability in the US, Canada and Western Europe.

Information adapted from Wikipedia and NAMI Child and Adolescent Center

To learn more about NAMI and how you can help please contact

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Former teacher, business owner and now retired. This is my favorite job of all. Regular contributor to Open Salon. All of my work is non-fiction and my first book "Heart Full of Hope" is now available on Amazon and Kindle.

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