1. Identity and Mission

1.1 NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, especially those with serious mental illness. NAMI advocates for effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment, support, research and recovery that improves the quality of life of persons of all ages who are affected by mental illness.

1.2 NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. To meet that goal, NAMI is building a movement. We seek to broaden public awareness and inclusion in every part of our alliance. We seek to increase our visibility and impact; strengthen our voice as a unified organization of lived experiences and maximize our outreach to and engagement with all communities.

1.3 NAMI envisions a world where all persons affected by mental illness experience resiliency, recovery and wellness. Each individual experiences mental illness and recovery differently, and NAMI supports research, treatment and supportive services that address each individual’s needs. Many individuals living with mental illness experience recovery through a combination of community services, medication, peer support, housing, education, employment and other supports. NAMI fights to ensure that people who are not experiencing recovery, but instead cope with hardships such as homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration, receive every support possible to put them on the path to recovery.

1.4 NAMI's roots grew from the needs of people and families living with mental illness for knowledge, understanding, sharing of grief, relief from guilt and stigma, mutual support and mutual love. Increases in NAMI’s membership are likely to be concentrated individuals and families affected by mental illness and others who have these same concerns. The NAMI family includes individuals living with mental illness, their parents, siblings, children, spouses, domestic partners, other involved relatives and friends.

1.5 While primary peer support is concentrated in NAMI Affiliates in local communities, all components of NAMI declare:
(1.5.1) Together we can give each other strong support;
(1.5.2) The illness is treatable;
(1.5.3) It's not anyone's fault;
(1.5.4) You don't need to explain anything—we already know;
(1.5.5) You can survive as an intact family; and
(1.5.6) With dedication and unity, we have enormous strength through which we can accomplish constructive change.

1.6 NAMI advocates for research and services in response to major illnesses that affect the brain, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism and pervasive developmental disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

1.7 Individuals with mental illness share many similar problems with persons with other disorders and disabilities. To achieve our own goals, NAMI supports, to the fullest extent possible, solidarity with other disability and patient advocacy communities to effect positive changes in societal attitudes, government, education, and public and private institutional responsiveness. NAMI will advocate for the rights of people with mental illness, even when our views conflict with the views of other disability groups.

1.8 NAMI places the highest priority on:
(1.8.1) Medical treatment, services, education, re-training of professionals and
providers in the recovery model of care,
(1.8.2) Rehabilitation and recovery for persons with serious mental illness, and
(1.8.3) Research aimed toward the ultimate prevention and cure of these conditions.