Welcome to NAMI Schenectady


NAMI Schenectady is affiliated with NAMI NYS (naminys.org) and NAMI National( nami.org) Do you have a spouse, child, other relative, or friend with mental illness? If so, then you should know about our self-help education and advocacy groups

Who we are:

We are family members and friends of someone with a brain disorder (also called mental illness) Originally, more than 30 years ago, a group of parents in Schenectady founded a support group to help one another cope with the effects of a family member's devastating mental illness. The Schenectady Relatives Group became incorporated as AMI-Schenectady in January 1988. We have been meeting ever since as AMI and (since our name change in 1998) as NAMI-Schenectady.

Our goals and objectives are:

  1. to help one another in relatives support groups.
  2. to educate one another and others about mental illness and all the attendant issues.
  3. to advocate for more and better services and facilities for people with mental illness.
  4. to work to improve community and hospital mental health services.
  5. to erase stigma against those with mental illness.
  6. to promote research in the causes and treatment of mental illness.
  7. to promote the rights and interests of people with mental illness.
  8. to collect funds for the above purposes.

From about 1980 to a few years ago our volunteers conducted a support group in Schenectady to give emotional support to individuals and families with a relative who has a mental illness. We now have merged our group with one based in our local hospital. Besides meetings, we help each other get over the hurdles in seeking services and assistance from the local mental health and housing providers, hospital and government agencies involved. .

We conduct regular chapter education meetings with a speaker and discussion. We advocate at local, state and federal government levels for more money and better services and conditions for people with mental illness. And we address the rights of these people.

We try to combat stigma against mental illness in the news media, films and television, and in ads and public statements. We have a wide variety of literature to hand out.

We volunteer and offer funds to be used in the local agency programs for social, recreational and training activities of those who have mental illness.

When and Where We Meet:

The core group for NAMI affiliates is a relatives support group to help families cope with the serious mental illness of a family member or someone in their care.

Currently, we have merged our support group with the Ellis Hospital mental health education and support group which meets weekly inside Ellis Hospital. Meetings are held every Wednesday at 6 pm in classroom B3 and are led by Kevin Moran, a psychiatric social worker on the psychiatry unit. (243-4255).

Meanwhile, our affiliate holds regular meetings for education and advocacy outside the hospital on the second Monday of the month, but not December, January, July or August. We are currently scheduling meetings at various restaurants at noon for lunch together with a speaker. Call president for times and dates.

How to Join Us

We have family and individual memberships which are the same thing. We welcome professionals and leaders in our community and mental health consumers who would like to join us, as well. To become a member you pay $35 annual dues, usually at the beginning of the year.

This entitles you to attend meetings and conferences and receive newsletters of NAMI Schenectady, NAMI New York State, and NAMI National; and you can vote in elections and hold office in any of the three organizations.

Our newsletter carries an application for membership, or you can forward check with name, address (plus email address if you have it) and phone to NAMI Schenectady, Post Office Box 974, Schenectady, NY 12301. We also welcome donations or gifts in memory or honor of others, and we will acknowledge these. Your dues and donations are tax deductible. You do not have to have mental illness in the family to belong to NAMI.

NAMI is the largest family movement in the nation acting on behalf of people with mental illness.

About Mental Illness

We now know that mental illnesses are nobody's fault--they are serious medical illnesses that affect many thousands of individuals and their families. 

Today, a diagnosis of mental illness need not be hopeless. Due to the recent progress in research and treatment, and community based services, many people with these illnesses can get better and lead productive lives.

Treatment is now more effective than ever for schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and anxiety disorders. In terms of percentage of patients improved, the treatment effectiveness rates for schizophrenia and manic depression are higher than for cardiovascular disorders.