I'm taking the time to write because I've noticed that the small number of low reviews all mention pharmaceuticals. I relied on NAMI from it inception until my loved one passed about 20 years later. I served on Community Mental Health boards and was president of my local chapter. No organization does more for people living with mental illness than NAMI. NAMI relies on volunteer support and is constantly seeking the best answers from science, medicine and social organizations to aid people with MI. The idea that NAMI is "too cozy" with pharmaceutical companies is absurd. But I will say this, when my loved one was desperately ill, there was always someone around telling her not to take her meds. They would have encouraged her to throw away her meds right up until she was homeless or near death. No, meds aren't the only answer, and yes, meds have terrible side affects. But they beat the alternatives in every conceivable way. Please support this wonderful organization.
Review from Guidestar
Too focused on medication as a primary solution. In many individuals, medications can put them at a higher risk than had they not even been on it to begin with (like Cymbalta and an increased risk of suicide; had a friend who killed them-self shortly after starting on it, another one is experiencing the horrible "brain zaps" with no help from Eli Lilly-maker of the drug). In fact, nearly every mental health medication ups the risk of suicide (side effect risk) and thats just the start of the 'warning list' and should be used very carefully. In a day and age like today, medication should not be our first choice and I wish there was more done to help in this regard. Too often there is blame on the individual for not feeling better immediately, rather than focusing on their well being and progress at their own pace with or especially without medication. I wish NAMI would push this more, Big Pharma is not worth it in every situation.
Iniatially received support & info when mental illness was evident in our 20 yr old son. Although he still struggles, I have been trained to help facilitate a family support group in central Va. My volunteering has continued for 3 years. Now I am a member of the board & continue to learn & grow in understanding the bigger issues of advocacy. I am so grateful to the wonderful self-sacrificing people who are the faces & heart of Nami!
NAMI's Family to Family Program gives immeasurable support and information to help educate families who have a loved one facing mental illness. The Peer to Peer program has also been a life-changing support system for my adult child, who struggles with schizophrenia, along with bipolar, anxiety, etc. I just wish these programs were also available in more areas. Many volunteers give very generously of their time, experience and compassion in NAMI across the country.
Review from Guidestar
My family is grateful for the services provided by the Nami Waukesha office. The F2F classes helped with understanding what my loved one was going through. They offered support & help with housing, guidance & understanding.
NAMI has many shoes to fill. It fulfills many diverse roles of educating, advocating, and assisting for those who are in need of mental health assistance. They have seven programs which speak to different needs wherein they reach out to the community. They involve community members and are sensitive to diversity concerns. They hold some classes in Spanish, for example. They also have an online service whereby anyone can go to speak to others who are in the same role. I find this organization to be grossly underappreciated. They are single handedly assisting everyone who has ANY mental health issue. They do insist that mental health issues are biologically based, and I wonder why the need is there to press that etiology paradigm. Otherwise, I don't know what I would do without them. I am highly educated but I knew little about mental health when my own daughter was diagnosed with major depression. Ironically, I work in the non-profit sector and am familiar with the criteria necessary for a good organization. They have exceeded this. In my case, I was assisted by Howard T. in NH and MA as well as Laurie in MA. My daughter volunteered there and it helped her in her fight against stigma. In fact, she is doing a research project as a grad student which was based on stigma she saw in her classmates when she did a survey in her statistics class. Not surprisingly, NAMI was already addressing STIGMA. I can't say enough good things about this organization. I wish they would provide a voting tool on their state sites so that one can vote for their organization here. Thank you!
NAMI is way too cozy with pharmaceutical companies. Maybe less than before being investigated by Sen. Grassly of Iowa in 2009, but still enough to be influenced in its teaching programs and advocacy. Ask you state and local affilliates what percentage of their income is received from Provider companies or Drug companies.
I am not an active member now, as I see that both NAMI and the MHA are going down this same path. I have served in the past on local boards of both organizations, and on NAMI state Board as an officer. NAMI has become rigid in its programs, too, requiring a "by the Book" method for facilitation of its sponsored support groups, at least according to a local person, who was a longtime member of its local affiliate's BOD,
Review from Guidestar
NAMI is a GREAT Nonprofit! It is the single, most-comprehensive resource for getting real education, real facts and real help for family members of and/or those suffering with a mental illness. NAMI seeks to deteriorate the stigma associated with mental illness and links you up with others that will walk along side your family to support your loved one's mental journey. You can look up things all day long on the internet but until you get around like-minded and like-experienced individuals, the solutions never come. It is a light at the end of a tunnel to the antiquated viewpoints and funding our country, and especially my state (Texas), has towards mental illness. NAMI is propelling change and giving a voice to the voiceless, DEMANDING our loved ones with a mental health diagnosis are treated as human beings and not as a diagnosis!
I have been with NAMI Greater Orlando for more than 12 years. Without them and their free programs I would not be alive today. I am an Instructor for Peer to Peer, and Provider Training . They are a group of very dedicated individuals with so much knowledge and compassion. I am proud to be a consumer as well as a Instructor for National Alliance for Mental illness.
Review from CharityNavigator
NAMI is a great organization that helps people who desperately need it. People with mental illnesses need help and I'm happy this charity is trying to do that. Great people
Review from CharityNavigator
Since 1997 NAMI has been a friend to my family. I am a Family to Family Teacher and Trainer, Support Group Facilitator, and Provider Trainer. Having family members understand and be able to cope with these illnesses is a huge support to the mental health community of providers and to the consumers who so need our support.
I cannot say enough in support of the Nami Dallas organization. In the past 12 years since my son was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar, the volunteers, teacher, counselors, support group members and board members have always been there for my son and I. When you are living with mental illness and experiencing its effects first hand, NAMI Dallas has been like a parachute helping you land. My son doesn't know it yet, but NAMI will be his guardian angel. Thank you for being the great non-profit organization that you are!
When my son was suicidal from bi-polar depression and we didn't know how to help him or ourselves, we found the NAMI Family-to-Family class and it was life-saving. To learn about mental illness from people who had been in our shoes and knew what we were going through was like finding a lifeboat in a storm. No one understands like someone who's been there. I learned how to help myself and my son, and I learned that there was hope. And there IS hope - my son is now happy and self-supporting. NAMI is a life-saver.
NAMI is an absolutely great organization.
After being diagnosed with a mental illness I thought my whole entire life was over.
It was in an Intensive Outpatient Program that I met a speaker from NAMI that gave me hope that recovery was possible.
I have since been compliant with taking my medication, going to therapy bi-weekly, and attending support group meetings weekly and monthly through NAMI.
They have provided me with a place where I no longer feel alone.
I have been given back my life and my voice as a result of being involved with NAMI.
I am a Peer to Peer Mentor, Connection Recovery Support Group Facilitator, a Delegate on the NAMI Texas Consumer Council, and on June 18-19, 2011 I will train to be a Provider Education Program Consumer Member.