Patricia Cliff has been an active member of NAMI for many years. However, working to improve the lives of the mentally ill took center stage in her life when her family experienced the ultimate tragedy -- the suicide death of her only child, Kenneth Johnson, in November 1995.
First elected to the NAMI national board in 1998, Patricia is currently serving her second three-year term and holds the board position of 2nd Vice President. In her prior capacity as Chair of the Planning Committee, she led NAMI's efforts to re-locate the national office to its present location in Arlington, VA. She continues to advise the board on real estate issues, utilizing her skills as an attorney and real estate executive in New York City.
Patricia and her husband, Karl von Frieling, have underwritten the cost of the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research Library, located at the NAMI-NYC Metro affiliate, as a resource of the most current information about mental illness, including relevant books, scientific journals, and videos. The library is available to consumers, family members, professionals, and the public. Patricia and her family have also established the NAMINet Kenneth Johnson Memorial On-Line Resource Library, to enable the NAMI leaders nationwide to share their resources, programs, and outreach initiatives.
Patricia serves on the Mental Health Law Committee of the Association for the Bar of the City of New York and is involved in various pro-bono activities involving the mentally ill in prisons and jails.
Patricia serves as 2nd Vice-President of the Board of NAMI-NYC Metro, the second largest NAMI affiliate in the U.S., and is on the editorial board of NY City Voices, a consumer newspaper.
Patricia received her bachelor's degree from Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y., and participated in a doctoral program at the Ludwig-Maximillians Universitaet in Munich, Germany. She received her J.D. from Hofstra Law School, Hempstead, N.Y., is fluent in German, and has a working knowledge of French and Italian. Ms. Cliff lectures and writes extensively on the subject of mental illness.