The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.
An estimated 1 in 5 people live with a mental health condition in the United States which means more than 43 million Americans are affected. Almost 10 million of those live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.
People with mental health conditions are our neighbors, our families and ourselves. They work in all sectors of the U.S. economy, from the boardroom to the factory floor, from academia to art. But, without investment in research and advancement in diagnostics and treatment, the social and economic costs associated with mental health conditions are tremendous. The numbers are overwhelming.
Over 42,000 American lives are lost each year to suicide, more than 2 ½ times the number of lives lost to homicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans age 15-24 and the 10th leading cause of death for adults.
Mental illness is the third most costly medical condition in terms of overall health care expenditures, behind only heart conditions and traumatic injury. The direct and indirect financial costs associated with mental illness in the U.S. is estimated to be over $300 billion annually.
“Investing in mental health research can make these startling statistics a thing of the past and improve the lives of millions of Americans who live with mental health conditions and their families,” said Mary Giliberti, JD, chief executive officer of NAMI.
NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. To meet that goal, NAMI is building a movement. The organization seeks to broaden public awareness and inclusion in every part of their alliance, and seeks to increase visibility and impact; strengthening their voice as a unified organization of lived experiences and maximize outreach to and engagement with all communities.
As a national organization, NAMI supports a number of key research priorities across government, academia and private industry, including: accelerating the pace of psychiatric drug discovery; advancing services and intervention research; addressing early mortality in adults with mental illness; and improving diagnostics and advancing precision medicine.
NAMI envisions a world where all persons affected by mental illness experience resiliency, recovery and wellness. Each individual experiences mental illness and recovery differently, and NAMI supports research, treatment and supportive services that address each individual’s needs. Many individuals living with mental illness experience recovery through a combination of community services, medication, peer support, housing, education, employment and other supports. NAMI fights to ensure that people who are not experiencing recovery, but instead cope with hardships such as homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration, receive every support possible to put them on the path to recovery.
For more information, visit www.nami.org.