Since 1979, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has been offering education, support, advocacy and, most especially, hope backed by science for individuals and families affected by mental illness. Since then, NAMI has been the most formidable grassroots mental health organization in the country. NAMI Washington supports the work of 22 local NAMI affiliates in communities large and small around the state. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all those affected by mental illness. We do this by providing a statewide, unifying voice of advocacy and coordinating the delivery of education, support and recovery.
We are the families, friends and individuals who work to increase research and eradicate the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness. While the steadfast commitment of our grassroots advocates has produced profound changes in how people living with mental illness are treated in this country, the challenges continue, and NAMI is dedicated to being a leader and resource for others in this work.
NAMI Washington’s active Public Policy Committee monitors our state’s mental health and health policy issues in Olympia, develops public policy information and position statements, and publishes our Public Policy Priorities. The annual mid-January NAMI Day in Olympia brings our members from across the state to the Capitol, where they gather to lobby their legislators about mental illness and the fact that recovery is possible.
NAMI offers an array of peer education and training programs, initiatives and services for individuals, family members, health care providers and the general public. NAMI’s education and support programs provide relevant information, valuable insight, and the opportunity to engage in support networks. These programs draw on the lived experience of individuals who have learned to live well with mental illness and have been extensively trained to help others, as well as the expertise of mental health professionals and educators. NAMI and volunteer grassroots leaders are committed to education as the pathway to recovery, empowerment and wellness. In addition to education programs and initiatives offered through NAMI National, many of NAMI’s over 1,100 affiliates offer an array of support and education programs and activities for families and individuals. Many of NAMI’s program offerings are also available in Spanish language and some are also provided by means of translations into other languages.
Advocacy: a respected force
NAMI is recognized as the preeminent voice on Capitol Hill and in state houses across the country for the millions of Americans living with serious mental illness. NAMI advocates have fought for policy changes that raise the bar on mental illness care and promote treatment and research on par with other illnesses. NAMI’s advocacy provides a unique voice for people who live with mental illness and their families in state and federal public and private-sector policies that facilitate research, end discrimination, reduce barriers to successful life in the community and promote timely, comprehensive and effective mental health services and supports. NAMI National and NAMI grassroots leaders work steadily to influence critical national policy debates as they unfold.