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NAMI National Convention Report | Mental Health Progress

Published by Courtney Hall

The 2019 NAMI National Convention, June 19 -22 in Seattle, is in the book and it was
“PHE NAMI NAL!” Why? There’s too much to list!

NAMI National Convention Highlights

  • General sessions where the more than 2,000 in attendance all gathered to hear the same speaker.
  • More breakout sessions than I could count, many good ones that I wanted to attend meeting in the same time slots.
  • Networking opportunities to meet fellow NAMIans who were working in the same areas, ranging from programming, to CIT, to political advocacy, systems change and more.
  • Elections for positions on the NAMI national board of directors.
  • An exhibit room where more than 50 exhibitors, including government agencies like the National Institutes of Mental Health and the Social Security Administration, drug companies, mental health residential facilities and treatment programs, hospitals, research organizations and more had booths.
  • A NAMI bookstore that had some book signings in addition to offering a wide variety of books on mental illnesses and mental health.
  • There was even a short talk by Eleanor Owen, now age 98 and one of the original founders of NAMI in 1979. She talked about the huge strides in mental health awareness and treatment we have made since then.
  • A new NAMI national strategic plan, which will focus NAMI on three main goals over the next five years. The new strategic plan aims to change our nation’s mental health systems such that:
      • People get help early
      • People get the best possible care
      • People get diverted from the criminal justice system

Mental Health Organizational Progress

National and state progress in these areas will result in great improvement to our mental health systems and great improvements in the lives of people living with mental illnesses.
In addition, NAMI will work to strengthen the national office and strengthen the alliance of state and local NAMI affiliates.
More than forty delegates from Illinois, including two from NAMI Cook County North Suburban, attended the conference.

There was so much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and information that our heads are still spinning. It was PHE-NAMI-NAL!
Next year’s convention will be held July 15-18, 2020 in Atlanta. If there’s any way you can attend, you’ll be very glad you did!

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