National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Wednesday, June 28

NAMI Staff member Sam Banya assists registrants at the Information DeskOpening Day

The 2006 NAMI Convention got underway today at the Washington D.C. Hilton, as consumers, family members, and others whose lives have been affected by serious mental illnesses arrived for four days of top-notch educational opportunities, information, conversation, and advocacy.

A highlight of the day was the New Directions in Research session, featuring Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Dr. Donald Vereen of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Attendees received a glance at new research efforts that hold the potential to change many lives for the better.

Meanwhile, grassroots leaders from NAMI’s state organizations and local affiliates received training and exchanged ideas during the 17 different workshops that comprised this year’s Leadership Institute. They also had the opportunity to show off their unique and innovative programs, services and resources at NAMI’s first-ever Grassroots Expo.

Another first at this year’s Convention, the Multicultural Strategic Summit, kicked-off with a Meet-and-Greet event.  The Multicultural Strategic Summit is the first large, national gathering of leaders, researchers, practitioners, families, and individuals living with mental illnesses, coming together to address mental healthcare equality -- based on four years of study, planning, and organizing by NAMI's Multicultural Action Center. 300 participants are expected during the course of the Summit.

In the remaining days of the Convention, representatives from African American, Asian American, Native American, and Latino communities, among others, will participate in workshops, symposia, and plenary sessions leading to a Town Hall Meeting to create a National Advocacy Plan.

View Photos of Wednesday’s activities

More daily coverage and photos:  June 28 | June 29 | June 30 | July 1

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