NAMI is organized as community affiliates within state associations such as Michigan, which are grouped to form a national organization. In April 1979, six independent support groups for parents of adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses from around the country joined forces in Madison, Wisconsin, to hold the first conference of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Thirty people from Michigan were among the two hundred eighty four present. In Michigan, this pattern of joining together continued as advocacy groups throughout the state of Michigan formed NAMI Michigan with incorporation on January 10, 1986. As NAMI Michigan has evolved, interest and membership has extended beyond parents to include other family and friends of people suffering from mental illnesses, professionals involved in treatment and care and most importantly individuals who are diagnosed with mental illness.
As one of the newest and fastest growing affiliates in Michigan, NAMI Metro was established in January of 2008. It was created by a group of seasoned NAMI members who in some cases had over 20 years of experience with NAMI. In addition, this group had years of experience in putting together and offering a very successful Families In Action ten-week educational program that is offered twice a year in Oakland and Wayne County.
NAMI Metro now offer’s a variety of educational opportunities, new support groups, a variety of advocacy initiatives and monthly communications to all its members. Communications is conducted via a printed quarterly newsletter, monthly electronic newsletters and monthly general education meetings.
From the beginning NAMI Metro has focused on Education and Support and has built a strength within the three communities that is serves:
In 2008 NAMI Metro created its first 24×7 helpline manned exclusively by volunteers
In 2008 NAMI Metro added “In Our Own Voice” presenters as one of NAMI Metro’s premier presentations. It is a powerful anti-stigma program. These nationally trained presenters present to universities, high schools, community civic organizations, etc.
In 2009 NAMI Metro added Family Basics education to its offerings, which helps families of youth up to age 15.
In 2013 NAMI Metro added a 12 week Family to Family program in conjunction with the VA hospital in Detroit.
As of 2015 NAMI Metro has increased its Family Support Groups to nine and has created three Connection support groups for individuals with a mental illness.
After extensive work by the NAMI Metro Board, in October 2015 achieved NAMI Nationals re-chartering as a result of meeting the new Standards of Excellence.
In 2016 NAMI Metro added a second 24×7 help line manned by volunteers.
In 2016 NAMI Metro became trained and qualified to present “Ending the Silence” a program targeting middle and high school students. It educates on mental health and discusses suicide prevention.
In 2016 NAMI Metro became trained and qualified to present “Parents and Teachers as Allies” a program targeting high school teachers, counselors and parents.