NAMI in Oregon
NAMI Oregon is the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are a statewide grassroots organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals living with mental illness, as well as their families and loved ones. In conjunction with our 15 local chapters, or affiliates, we serve all Oregonians through our education and support programs at the state and local levels.
NAMI also advocates at all levels of government and within health care systems and other community settings for improved access to quality treatment and support services and for universal acceptance of mental illness for what it is — an illness that responds to treatment and support.
NAMI members, volunteers and leaders are all people with direct lived experience with mental illness. Some are individuals living with mental illness, some are family members with a loved one with mental illness, some are parents or caregivers raising a child with mental illness. Many fall into multiple categories.
We take to heart the conclusion of The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health: “Mental illness is not a scandal — it is an illness. And like physical illness, it is treatable.”
Three Levels of NAMI
NAMI is America’s largest grassroots advocacy organization and is membership-governed at all three of its levels:
NAMI National — The national organization develops and updates NAMI’s signature education and support programs, advocates at the federal policy level, and pursues national public information campaigns to combat stigma and create an environment in which people feel more comfortable reaching out for help.
NAMI Oregon — The state organization is responsible for state policy initiatives and efforts with large health systems and other community systems to ensure that individuals and families affected by mental illness have access to effective treatments and support services. NAMI Oregon also trains NAMI volunteers to lead our education and support programs and provides technical assistance and other support to NAMI affiliates in Oregon.
In addition, NAMI Oregon offers a toll-free Helpline (800-343-6264; 503-230-8009) that helps callers with system navigation and information about mental health conditions and resources in Oregon. We also answer Helpline emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAMI Affiliates — Oregon has 15 NAMI affiliates, or local chapters, that are the heart of NAMI. Local affiliates deliver NAMI’s signature education and support programs and are active with their local governments and local health care systems to bring about changes to improve our mental health care system. Many chapters pursue special initiatives, such as partnering with their local law enforcement agencies to offer Crisis Intervention Team Training. And many chapters hold events such as featuring topical guest speakers, and they provide table displays at community events, such as health fairs and military stand-downs.
Most affiliates also support a local Helpline. Four affiliates — serving Clackamas, Lane, Multnomah, and Washington counties — are large enough to have staff and permanent office space. Other affiliates are run by dedicated and specially training NAMI volunteers who give of their time to individuals and families in need.