National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI 2004 National Convention

September 17, 2004

NAMI Celebrates 25

Last week, people from across America and around the world whose lives have been touched by serious mental illness gathered in Washington, D.C. for NAMI's 2004 National Convention, kicking off a year-long celebration of NAMI's 25th anniversary. Over 2,700 attendees, including more than 400 consumers, enjoyed four days of information and inspiration in our nation's capital.

Beginning with NAMI's organizing convention in 1979, the NAMI national convention has been an annual opportunity for consumers, family members, mental health professionals and advocates to get the tools, know-how, and energy they need to do what needs to be done -- whether it be pushing for more research into mental illness, achieving fair and equitable health insurance, getting needed and deserved help with housing and education, or ending stigma and discrimination.

This year's convention was no exception. Attendees learned the latest information and strategies, networked with experts and grassroots activists, and were re-inspired and re-energized to continue their work advocating on the local, state, and federal levels to insure that all people with mental illnesses have a fair shot at a full and satisfying life.

This year's gathering was notable in many ways:

  • An African American Symposium, sponsored by NAMI's Multicultural Action Center drew over 250 attendees to address mental health issues in the African American community
  • The Breakout Conference, which addresses mental health issues in the Deaf community, was held concurrently with the NAMI convention
  • The next generation of NAMI was well represented by students from NAMI On Campus and NAMI's Teen Advisory Group
  • Many of NAMI's founding members and staff were recognized at the 25th Anniversary Awards banquet including Harriet Shetler, Fuller Torrey, Laurie Flynn and Lynne Saunders
  • 25th Anniversary Celebratory Wall, recognizing and thanking nearly 5,000 supporters who have given generously for this special occasion, was on display throughout the convention. (It is not too late to add your "brick" to the wall. Find out more.)

For those who were not able attend, or for those who just want to reminisce, we have assembled day-by-day coverage with highlights, photos, press releases and more.

September 8: Opening Day

September 9: Advocacy and Public Policy

September 10: Exploring the Issues, Training for Action

September 11: Research, Medicine and Celebration 

Mark your calendars now, and plan to join us for the 2005 NAMI Convention, June 18-21 in Austin, Texas. Details and online registration to be available soon.

The 2004 Convention is the first of many ways NAMI is marking its silver anniversary. Other events include an online auction, regional galas and more. Stay tuned to for all the latest.