(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

NAMI Agency Information

  • NAMI is an national, recreational organization that has branches all over the country. Each with the purpose of helping those with mental illnesses and their families. Its mission is to offer support, advocacy, and education to those affected by mental illnesses but also educate others about mental illnesses.
  • Nami Portage and Wood counties covers both counties, including Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield and the surrounding communities.
  • Most activities are conducted in Stevens Point, however with the use of technology as an aid expansion is in the future.
  • The hours of business depend on the times of meetings being held, and classes being offered. However there is a 24 hour hotline people can call if they are in need of assistance.
  • Text "HOPELINE" to 741741

History of NAMI and Services Provided

  • NAMI is a grassroots, nonprofit organization. It was started in 1979 in Madison by two women who were frustrated with the absence of support and information for the family members of people with mental illness.
  • NAMI Portage and Wood counties was created in 1997.
  • NAMI offers support groups for families affected with a mental illness.
  • NAMI offers classes that educate family members, and peers on how to care and live with someone who has a mental illness.
  • NAMI also holds general meetings featuring guest speakers, discussions, or videos. Anyone who wishes to attend one of these meetings can do so. They have no charge and are open to the public.
  • Various programs are also put on such as Winter delight program to help others with seasonal affective disorder, a.k.a seasonal depression.
  • There is a hope hotline that can be texted and help will be reached. Text "HOPELINE" to 741741.
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Eligibility Requirements, How to Access NAMI, and Funding

  • In order to participate in educational classes one family member must have a mental health condition. It doesn’t have to be diagnosed but present signs of a mental health condition. The same rule applies to the peer based class. When it comes to the various presentations and meetings anyone is eligible to come.

  • A person gains access to NAMI's materials through multiple ways. One way of access is through email correspondence. Another is through paper bulletins and newsletters. These are also on the website to look at. If a person is unable to attend an event due to carpool issues or not having a ride NAMI provides rides for people as well.
  • Funding for NAMI is provided through membership dues, grants, community foundations, and donations.

Evaluations and Agency Links

  • NAMI is evaluated at multiple levels. It is evaluated at the national level and community level. All the classes that NAMI teaches to parents, families, and peers are called signature classes therefore have to be evaluated by the NAMI national board of directors.

  • Community members who have attended events evaluate other programs and presentations given through pre and post evaluations. This helps to see if a program is helpful and if a instructor is efficient or if the program needs to be revamped.

  • The board of directors at each NAMI location then determines what changes need to be made after looking at the evaluations.

  • NAMI does not have a direct link to the IEP process however in their classes they inform parents about what to look for, what to expect, and have parents work with advocates that could help with the IEP process.

  • NAMI is involved in the transition process by being a part of county coalitions that work with the community, especially the transition age by setting up support groups and programs.

Community Interaction

  • NAMI interacts with parents primarily through classes that are offered. Classes are offered for families of those whose families are affected by mental illnesses. NAMI's goal is to educate those who are affected by mental illnesses and break down stigmas that might exist. NAMI also offers support groups for family members and parents as well.
  • NAMI interacts with the schools by offering training sessions, crisis management and informational programs for teachers, school RA's, library clerks, and anyone in the school system that might interact with someone with a mental illness.
  • NAMI provides crisis intervention partner training sessions which is two day training for anybody such as dispatchers, store owners, school RA's, library clerks. This is basically for anyone who might have an interaction with someone who is mentally ill.
  • You learn what mental health conditions are, meeting people who have mental health conditions, talking with them, watching videos. You learn how to alleviate the situation instead of making things worse.
  • NAMI interacts with the youth by working with juvenile detention centers, justice system, police departments, and Boys and Girls club to helping youth get the care they need so that they don't wind up back in jail and down the wrong path.


Interviewed Dr. Kay Jewell, President of NAMI Portage and Wood Counties

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