What does NAMI do?
We educate. Offered in thousands of communities across America through our NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates, our education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators get the support and information they need.
We advocate. NAMI shapes the national public policy landscape for people with mental illness and their families and provides grassroots volunteer leaders with the tools, resources and skills necessary to save mental health in all states.
We listen. Our toll-free NAMI HelpLine allows us to respond personally to hundreds of thousands of requests each year, providing free referral, information and support—a much-needed lifeline for many.
We lead. Public awareness events and activities, including Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), NAMIWalks and other efforts, successfully combat stigma and encourage understanding. NAMI works with reporters on a daily basis to make sure our country understands how important mental health is.
Dedicated NAMI members, leaders, and friends work tireless across all levels to meet a shared NAMI mission of support, education, advocacy, and research for people living with mental illness through various activities, including:
Public Education and Information Activities
- www.nami.org ~ NAMI’s website receives over 5.4 million visitors a year who turn to NAMI for information, referral, and education;
- 800.950.6264 ~ NAMI’s toll-free HelpLine serves over 4,000 callers a month and is staffed by a dedicated team of volunteer associates, as well as state and affiliate HelpLines in communities across the country;
- Public awareness activities such as Mental Illness Awareness Week, held during the first week of each October, helps dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage early intervention and treatment.
- In Our Own Voice –Available in selected communities across the country, this educational speakers bureau is presented by trained consumers living with mental illness to groups from all aspects of the community and both educates the public and supports consumer recovery and empowerment while dispelling the stigma of mental illness.
Family and Consumer Peer Education and Support Activities
- NAMI offers a cadre of education programs including Family-to-Family, NAMI’s Provider Education Program, Peer-to-Peer, and other state and local programs offered by trained family and consumer teachers to help educate other families, consumers, and professionals.
- Support groups are offered through many of NAMI’s over 1100 affiliates in communities across the country by families and consumers for families and consumers.
Advocacy on Behalf of People Living with Mental Illness and for the Health of our Communities
- NAMI advocates on the federal level to ensure nondiscriminatory and equitable federal and private-sector policies are in place as well as a commitment to research for the treatment and cures for mental illness.
- NAMI’s Campaign for the Mind of America, a grassroots political communications initiative, focuses on building relationships at national, state, and local levels with community leaders and elected officials to ensure that policy decisions are reflective of the best economic, science, recovery, and systems choices while ensuring the best outcomes.
- NAMI Action Centers, including the Multicultural Action Center, the Children & Adolescent Action Center, and the Center on Law and Criminal Justice, works to address unique systems and populations by developing, promoting, and disseminating appropriate education, advocacy, research, and support models tailored to meet specific needs.
Visible public events that raise funds and awareness while engaging the public, including:
- NAMI Walks, NAMI’s signature event, where thousands of concerned citizens in more than 50 communities across the nation will Walk for the Mind of America to raise money and awareness about our country’s need for a world-class treatment and recovery system for people with mental illness.
- Unmasking Mental Illness Science and Research Gala, NAMI’s annual black tie event held each fall in Washington DC to raise funds and awareness for NAMI’s efforts and to promote research into the causes and cures for mental illness.