Idaho, New Jersey, and Ft. Wayne NAMI Groups Win National Honors

Chairman of Presidential Commission and "A Beautiful Mind" Also Receive Awards as NAMI Launches New Campaign

Jun 29 2002

Cincinnati, OH - The National Alliance for the Mentally (NAMI), the nation's largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illnesses, presented awards to NAMI Idaho, NAMI New Jersey and NAMI Ft. Wayne, Indiana at its annual convention today.

As the convention entered its final day, NAMI also prepared to present awards at its closing banquet to Ohio Department of Mental Health director Michael Hogan, chairman of President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health-which will recommend changes in the nation's mental healthcare system-and Akiva Goldsman for the Oscar-winning movie "A Beautiful Mind."

"There is a revolution coming," said NAMI national director Richard C. Birkel. "We are especially proud to honor two NAMI state organizations and the NAMI local affiliate whose education and advocacy have been outstanding-helping to pave the way and to providing models for others."

"NAMI's strength is in our grassroots. Each NAMI organization, their leaders, members, and volunteers represent many beautiful minds."

NAMI Idaho-Outstanding State Organization

In recent years, NAMI Idaho worked closely with Idaho State Public Television to produce two award-winning documentaries on mental illness-including one after which NAMI recently named its newest, signature national program In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illnesses. NAMI Idaho also has worked to train police how to deal with people with mental illnesses, particularly in times of crisis, and has helped to establish an assisted outpatient treatment in the state. They also have focused special educational outreach to teens.

NAMI New Jersey-Outstanding Multicultural Outreach

NAMI New Jersey's outreach program to the South Asian community in New Jersey is a model for educating ethnic, racial, or cultural minorities about severe mental illnesses and making them a strong and vital part of the NAMI family. The state organization's recruitment of community leaders and professionals of South Asian origin to coordinate the program ensured that culturally appropriate information was provided. The program's acronym-SANHAJ for South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey-also means "understand" in Hindi, the most widely spoken language within the South Asian community.

NAMI Fort Wayne, Indiana-Outstanding Local Affiliate

NAMI Fort Wayne's achievements during the past several years have been impressive on many fronts: from establishing a Clubhouse for consumers, playing a key role in passing Medicaid reform within the state, and training police how to deal with people with severe mental illnesses.

"The President's commission is just the beginning," Birkel said. "Once its recommendations are made-then the hard work begins. We will need to make sure they are implemented and then keep building on them."

"Ripples of hope flow from every center of energy, creativity, daring and dedication, such as these premier NAMI organizations. Together, they can build a wave of change to inaugurate a new era of recovery."