NAMI Huntsville is the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness serving the North Alabama area. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports, and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need. Our mission is to improve the lives of families living with mental illness.
Before there was a NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, there were a number of support groups composed of families of persons with mental illness throughout the country.
In the autumn of 1979, 254 people from these groups gathered on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison to form NAMI, with the expressed commitment to improve the lives of persons with mental illness and the lives of their families. This social movement grew rapidly. In 1984, it grew to about 30 members when the support group for families and friends of persons with schizophrenia became the Huntsville-Madison County local affiliate. Currently, NAMI Huntsville has approximately 200 in its membership, and NAMI, the national organization, has more than 1,000 local affiliates throughout the country.
The quality of services for people with mental illness today is far from perfect. Yet, few of us from NAMI Huntsville’s early days would have not anticipated how much would be accomplished in what seems like a few short years.