History

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The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nationwide grassroots advocacy group, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

We started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in Madison, Wisconsin in 1979.    Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young two women who cared for sons diagnosed with schizophrenia, were tired of them being blamed for their mental illness. Unhappy with the lack of services available and the treatment of those living with mental illness, the women sought out others with similar concerns. The first meeting held to address these issues in mental health was much larger than expected, and eventually led to the formation of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Today, we are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in our communities to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. – Click here for more.

NAMI AOP got its beginnings in early 2000.  The first Family to Family class was taught by Jo Allmendinger and Betty Jane Crandall (February 17-May 5, 2001.)   Classes continued every fall and spring thereafter with new teachers such as Martha Gentry in Fall 2001, Michelle Ready  2003.    Linda Atkins was Resource Support Person each class taught through Spring of 2008.  Rudy James, still active as is Michelle Ready and Linda Atkins, took his Family to Family class in the Spring of 2003.

NAMI AOP formed their first official By-Laws in February 2007 and revised in March 2012 to comply with NAMI National requirements.  In 2016 NAMI AOP became a non-profit corporation.

Education remains our major focus.   As we learn and understand the latest research in how the brain functions, we can continue the awareness necessary to destigmatize mental illness creating an avenue where anyone in our upstate population can seek and receive mental health treatment and recovery needed and deserved without fear of being dehumanized in the process.