Form a NAMI Affiliate | NAMI


The strength of NAMI is in our grassroots membership. Members of our Alliance who are motivated to make a difference, speak with one voice to ensure that individuals and family members affected by mental illness can build better lives.

With over 600 NAMI Affiliates across the country, NAMI Affiliates are a critical part of our Alliance—along with our 49 NAMI State Organizations and national NAMI headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. We educate by providing education programs in thousands of communities across the United States. We advocate and help shape national public policy. We listen through the NAMI HelpLine. We lead by increasing public awareness, especially during Mental Illness Awareness Week and with NAMIWalks. Visit About NAMI for more detailed information.

Currently, we are not able to accommodate New Affiliate Development in states and US territories where there is no NAMI State Organization in place (WV, ND, PR, and VI) or outside the United States.

NAMI Affiliate Formation Phases

Interested in starting a NAMI Affiliate? NAMI Affiliates (NAs) are created by groups of individuals who embrace the mission of NAMI and its commitment to building a community of hope for all of those in need. Volunteer leaders come to NAMI with a passion to dedicate their time and resources to facilitate support groups, teach NAMI signature programs, advocate for mental health systems change, and foster peer relationships that empower and strengthen new leadership.

Basic requirements for new NAs include:

  • A minimum of five members
  • At least two trained teachers or facilitators to conduct NAMI Education classes or programs in the community

Please review the information below and then complete the submission form to get started.

Phase 1: Inquiry

  • Individuals interested in starting new NAMI Affiliates will learn general information about NAMI, NAMI State Organizations (NSOs) and NAMI Affiliates (NAs).
  • Interested individuals will submit new affiliate interest form.
  • NAMI staff will forward the completed interest form to the appropriate NSO for review.
  • The NSO will respond to the applicant and provide a self-assessment form if appropriate.

Phase 2: Evaluation

  • The applicant group will complete a self-assessment form and send to the NSO
  • The NSO will review the self-assessment form and determine the need for a new NA in the specified geographic area.
  • The NSO will communicate its decision of approval or denial to form a new NA to the applicant in writing.

Phase 3: Formation (For Applicant Groups Who Have NSO Approval ONLY)

  • The approved applicant group will receive formation requirements and policies from the NSO—these may vary from state to state.
  • The approved applicant group will complete an official application and send to the NSO.

Phase 4: Application Submission And Review

  • The NSO review the application, verify adherence to formation requirements, document their findings in writing and then forward those findings to the applicant group.
  • The NSO’s Board of Directors will vote to endorse the applicant group’s application and then forward the approval in writing to NAMI.
  • NAMI staff will review the application and other documents.

Phase 5: Pre-Approval

  • NAMI will send a checklist for remaining Model B Affiliate requirements to the NSO Board-endorsed applicant group.
  • Applicant group will complete the remaining requirements, which will be reviewed by NAMI staff.

Phase 6: NAMI Board Approval

  • NAMI staff will submit the applicant group’s name for formal approval by the NAMI Board of Directors.

Phase 7: Addendum And Attestation

  • NAMI staff will create an Addendum to the State Charter and Attestation to be signed by NSO and new NAMI Affiliate leadership.

Phase 8: Official Affiliate Launch

  • NAMI staff will create a logo for the new NA, add them to the national database, and send a welcome letter.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).