Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Family and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, The

  • Diana J. SemmelhackEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_986


NAMI (which started in 1979) is the largest national grass roots organization providing pro bono support for severely mentally ill individuals, caregivers, and providers. The organization has the mission of educating the public, advocating to politicians as well as others influential to the field of mental health and listening to those in need. According to Lefley (1989), “for family members who comprise its base, the…organization has provided a vehicle for mutual support, information sharing, public education and advocacy, resource development, and investment in preventive research for generations” (p. 559). Likewise, NAMI has challenged the belief that the deviance in families has been a major percipitent of severe mental illness. The organization has challenged the stereotype of schizophrenogenesis and “aggressively promoted a brain disease model, arguing that mental illness has a biological basis” (Sayce 2000). NAMI’s efforts have done much to challenge stereotypes...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas C. Breunlin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA