National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Pioneer Dies at Age 92

Harriet Shetler

Angered by the practice in the late 1970s of placing parental blame as a cause for mental illness, Harriet Shetler turned her personal experience and outrage into an effort that, along with the contributions of Bev Young, transformed an entire nation's views on mental illness. The two pioneers helped found NAMI more than 30 years ago.

Fueled by public stigma, a woefully inadequate mental health care system and scientific ignorance about mental illness, these courageous women set into motion a national movement that thrives today. NAMI has more than 1,100 affiliates in all 50 states as well as more than 70 national staff members working in the areas of education, public policy, legal affairs, multicultural outreach, communications and development.

Harriet Shetler passed away on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.
She worked more than 30 years in print media in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. She was a newspaper reporter, scientific and industrial magazine editor and instructor in editing for UW-Extension. She retired in 1982.