NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI created the Multicultural Action Center in 2002 to focus attention on system reform to eliminate disparities in mental health care for diverse communities, ensure access to culturally competent services and treatment for all Americans and particularly to help and support people of diverse backgrounds who are affected by serious mental illness.
The Multicultural Action Center works to:
- Develop and promote culturally competent programs and practices
Publications and resources include ¡Avanzamos!, NAMI’s fully bilingual (English and Spanish) magazine which serves as NAMI’s most useful outreach tool in the field; fact sheets on culturally-specific information, cultural competence and other key topics; materials in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese; an African-American family targeted booklet on mental health information, a recovery guide for LGBT individuals and short videos highlighting multicultural perspectives of recovery all housed in a web resource portal.
The Multicultural Action Center also maintains NAMI’s Spanish-language web information.
- Decrease stigma through public education that addresses specific cultural barriers
In addition to a series of webinars and in-person event presentations and trainings given on various topics, the Multicultural Action Center coordinates Sharing Hope: Understanding Mental Health, a community partnership building education program specifically tailored for NAMI’s engagement of African Americans. In 2012, NAMI develop a Latino version of the program in English and Spanish.
The Multicultural Action Center also spearheads a national awareness campaign each July for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and provides support and assitance to others taking part with local activities and efforts.
- Promote multicultural education, advocacy, research and support at all levels of the organization
The Multicultural Action Center provides trainings and various technical assistance to NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates engaged in focused multicultural outreach efforts, often in partnership with NAMI’s Education and Policy teams to infuse diversity components in NAMI’s programming and advocacy efforts.
A series of materials is available to help in grassroots efforts including the 2011 Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion Planning Guide. In 2011 MAC started an intensive interactive training targeting five selected NAMI State Organizations and has expanded this program into a yearlong skill building, planning and technical assistance initiative for participating NAMI State Organization delegations.
- Build diverse leadership at all levels of the organization
Leadership opportunities are primarily offered through our Multicultural Networking Group made up of experts from our targeted communities: African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American/ Pacific Islander, Latino and LGBT—the current NAMI Board of Directors has four members (including the president) who were first members of the Multicultural Networking Group. In addition to networking, this group provides feedback and advice to NAMI through the Multicultural Action Center. The Multicultural Action Center also provides funding for individuals to attend the annual NAMI Convention.
NAMI Public Policy Platform: Cultural diversity is a priority in this policy platform.
U.S. and International Partners: organizations around the U.S. and world who share in NAMI's priority of meeting the mental health needs of individuals from diverse communities
Contact us for more information.