Ken Norton of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill NH
explores the impact of NAMI nationally and in New Hampshire as families and individuals face the daily challenges of mental illness with host Nathan O'Leary on this edition of Comcast Newsmakers.
Interview recorded on October 11, 2017.
Mission & Vision
MISSION:NAMI New Hampshire is a grassroots organization working to improve the quality of life for all by providing support, education and advocacy for people affected by mental illness.
VISION:We envision a future where people affected by mental illness have hope, help, and health, and are able to:
access the supports and evidence-based treatment necessary for recovery,
have a lifespan that is not cut short by their mental illness or co-morbid conditions, and
reach their full potential, living in their communities free from discrimination and stigma.
After the death of her husband in 1972, Peggy Straw's daughter began experiencing a mental illness. Back in those days, families, especially parents, were blamed for causing mental illness. Although the Community Mental Health Center Act of 1963 established centers throughout the US, most of them were providing "prevention" services to people who could be identified as the "worried well." The flawed theory was that, if people received services before they became ill, the illness could be prevented.
In an effort to find support and learn about the nature of her daughter's disease, Peggy joined the NH Association for Mental Health. In 1976, at the urging of the Association's Executive Director, she wrote to every state to find out if there were any support groups for families of loved ones with mental illness. Of the 39 states that responded to her inquiry, none knew of any support groups or even where information other than patient rights booklets could be obtained.