NAMI Minnesota Receives Outstanding Advocacy Award

Jul 03 1999

Chicago, IL - The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the nation's largest advocacy group for persons with severe mental illness, today honored its NAMI Minnesota state organization with its prestigious national award for "Outstanding Advocacy" in recognition of a hard-fought campaign to ensure that individuals with brain disorders imprisoned in Minnesota's correctional system receive the best possible treatment toward recovery.

NAMI Minnesota succeeded in reversing a Correctional Medical Services (CMS) policy that had sought to substitute older, less expensive medications with greater side effects for new generation drugs that are much more effective for persons with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. NAMI Minnesota persuaded CMS to restore the newer generation medications.

"NAMI Minnesota's efforts have had national implications," said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. "The struggle to ensure that individuals with mental illnesses have access to effective treatment extends not just to correctional systems, but also state Medicaid systems and managed care health plans. In 1999, NAMI Minnesota stands as an example for NAMI members and organizations throughout the United States. We are very proud of them."

NAMI Minnesota president David L. Nass of Woodbury accepted the award for the state organization at NAMI's 20th anniversary national convention, which was attended by more than 3,000 persons from across the country. NAMI has over 200,000 members nationwide and approximately 1,200 state and local organizations.