It’s no secret that NAMI wants to build a broad movement to improve
the lives of all people affected by mental illness. In 2014, I could
feel the movement
growing, especially in trips to meet with grassroots NAMI leaders in
such diverse states such as Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana,
Texas. The energy and commitment of NAMI volunteers is always
impressive—and essential to the future.
Taken together, many developments in 2014 provide a foundation for
2015 and years ahead. The challenge is to keep building on these
· Philanthropist Ted Stanley donated $650 million to the Broad
Institute for brain research to potentially develop new treatments. In
the words of NAMI’s
medical director, Ken Duckworth, it is a new “ ground-breaker”
for scientific research on mental
illness. Medical science is a cornerstone for NAMI’s commitment to
improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental
· USA Today
launched a special series,
The Cost of Not Caring,
about the inadequate mental health care system which inspired
dialogue in communities around the country. NAMI worked closely on the
identify people affected by the issues so their personal stories
could educate readers.
· Diverse faith communities increased their focus on the need to
help people find treatment for mental health problems. The most dramatic
of religious leaders and mental health experts organized by the
Saddleback Church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and NAMI Orange
provided a nationally significant model for outreach.
· The call for Congress to pass mental health care legislation increased. NAMI sponsored a
National Day of Action
in which recording artist and actress Demi Lovato participated,
amplifying our voice. NAMI also published a state legislative report for
all of the mental health legislation that passed in the past year.
We will be continuing our efforts at the state and federal level to meet
of our new strategic plan and address issues such as homelessness,
criminalization of people with mental illness, early intervention and
treatment, and the
needs of service men and women, veterans and their families.
· Along with others, NAMI won an
by defeating proposed restrictions on access to medications under
Medicare Part D. Protection of shared decision-making by doctors and
individuals is a key
NAMI value and we will continue our efforts to ensure access to
treatment that works.
· Attention increased this year on the need to end the
criminalization of mental illness. NAMI helped shape the debate with its
of crisis intervention teams (CIT). In 2015, NAMI, the Council of
State Governments, the National Association of Counties and others will
build on this
momentum by launching an unprecedented campaign to lower the number
of people with mental illnesses in jails by improving access to
effective mental health
and co-occurring substance use treatment.
· Major inroads were made with youth and young adults through the
NAMI on Campus program, with 85 active clubs on campuses across the
country and 240 in
the process of being formed. Additionally, NAMI’s Raising Mental Health Awareness on College Campuses toolkit was sent to more than 300 campus
communities. Young adults leading these groups and activities are NAMI leaders of the future!
Every movement has many different centers of energy, creativity and
commitment. Both large and small events converge to form greater waves
Looking back on 2014, are there trends or events that you think
provide hope, inspiration or opportunities for the future?
Do you have ideas you want to share for 2015?
Please feel free to share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.I
may not be able to reply individually, but I can promise to read every message personally.
In the meantime, best wishes for the holidays and the New Year.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of people living with mental illness
and their families!