NAMI was founded in 1977 in Madison, Wisconsin by Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young. The two women shared the experience of raising a child with a serious mental illness. They decided to assemble a group of people with similar concerns. Within six months, 75 people had joined.
Young and Shetler decided to hold a national conference, hoping for around 35 people. 284 representatives from 59 groups (representing 29 states) showed up. By the end of the conference, a national group, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill had been formed, named and financed. It was renamed The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to further reduce stigma and the discrimination associated with mental illness.
NAMI is now based in Arlington, Virginia. NAMI has over 1,000 local affiliates groups comprised of consumers, family members, friends of people with mental illness and professionals.
National alliance on mental illness. (2021, February 26). Retrieved March 03, 2021.
NAMI Wisconsin History. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2021.