Fairly recently, NAMI changed it's name from National Alliance for the Mentally Ill to National Alliance on Mental Illness. I think it is a good change because we can focus on generalities common to a particular disorder at a national level, while it seems it would be difficult to focus on individuals with mental illnesses at a national level. In my opinion, labeling a person as MENTALLY ILL identifies their whole person as their diagnoses. That's just not the case. People first, as the ADA's language is coached, means that a person with mental illness can be seen as a total person who has a disorder but that their identity is not merely their illness.
Below is a blurp straight from the NAMI literature that I'd received
this past weekend at the In Our Own Voices Training. It focuses
on the mission of NAMI. NAMI has really changed and grown in the
last 25 yrs.
"The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) was esablished in 1979
by a group of family members of those with severe mental
illnesses. Its mission was threefold:
~~To support those with menal illnesses and their families in finding coping mechanisms for their daily struggle with these illnesses;
~~To educate those with mental illnesses, their families, and
the general public about mental illness with the goal of dispelling
ignorances and stigma; and
~~To advocate for more research and an improved system of mental health services across the nation.
Today NAMI is a powerful self-help and advocacy organizationn. It
is the nation's largest grass-roots organization dedicated to improving
the lives of all people with severe mental illnesses."
(please note: italics are my emphases)