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NAMI Moves Forward on GLBT Issues

NAMI has released the proceedings document of the NAMI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Listening Session.

“It is a positive step that NAMI has made in acknowledgement, recognition, visibility and inclusion for issues of human sexuality and mental health by finally welcoming the GLBT communities into the NAMI family.”–NAMI GLBT Listening Session, 2007

The current NAMI Strategic Plan calls for the organization to move from good to great. One of the key strategies to achieve this vision is to embrace and empower NAMI leaders and members from diverse communities.

Alicia LuckstedRecognizing that the NAMI family includes Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) individuals and allies and that the needs of this community are unique, NAMI organized a GBLT Listening Session, held during NAMI’s 2007 National Convention. Through structured dialogue, participants shared personal experiences and expertise.

Drawing upon the issues discussed and follow-up dialogues between the NAMI GLBT Leaders Group* and NAMI leadership, the proceedings document provides long- and short-term goals for NAMI to move forward with GLBT inclusion:

  • Long-term priorities were made in recognition that real change happens over time and requires an organizational culture shift. An example of one of these priorities is to launch an internal education/awareness/sensitivity campaign to help all levels of NAMI welcome and value GLBT consumers and families.
  • Short-term priorities, such as building relationships and developing partnerships with GLBT institutions, organizations, and groups, will help us reach these long-term goals.

The report also outlines recommendations for the mental health system as a whole, focusing on two key areas: GLBT family issues and mental health treatment for GLBT individuals and families.

Sue and Val“We have to think creatively about what things can be done on a national level to help these things be carried out on the local and State level.”–GLBT Listening Session participant

The executive summary and full proceedings document are available on the NAMI website. This publication was created by Tom Hill, M.S.W., facilitator of the GLBT Listening Session and Majose Carrasco, M.P.A, Director of the Multicultural Action Center.

*The NAMI GLBT Leaders group is an advisory body to the Multicultural Action Center, offering invaluable advice on the activities, resources, etc. necessary to successfully address the needs of those in the GLBT community with mental illness. To join this group, contact