Welcome to NAMI Schenectady

COVID-19 Resources

During these challenging times, NAMI Schenectady is committed to helping you find the resources you need. Many of the meetings and events noted in this website are temporarily suspended in accordance with Governor Cuomo's recommendations. In the meantime, Schenectady County is coordinating a variety of helpful contacts. Click here for the COVID RESOURCE GUIDE. The Schenectady Community Action Program can also be contacted at 518-374-9181 for financial assistance, including rent and utiliities and for help in accessing needed services and support. Additional Mobile Crisis Services are available by contacting 518-292-5499.

We are pleased to announce that the Ellis Hospital Mental Health Department has resumed its weekly Family Support Group as of Wednesday September 23rd. Meetings take place as before in the Hospital’s Mental Health Department Classroom B-3 (B-wing 3rd floor) on Wednesday evening 6 - 7:30. Up to 10 participants are allowed in the meeting room because social distancing must be practiced. Also without exception, participants must wear a face mask to cover both nose and mouth. Call Joel Haynes, meeting facilitator, in advance, to tell her you are going to attend. This is so she knows how many are coming, and when to cut off the attendance at 10 people. Her number is 518-605-6537. Park in the Rosa Road ER parking garage, then go to the Emergency Room first to get your temperature taken and to answer a set of questions. Once you are cleared by this quick screening you will be given a pass to proceed to the meeting room. Once you are ok-d to go upstairs, follow signs to B wing and take the elevator to the 3rd floor classroom B-3.


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 our self-help education and advocacy group will be of interest to you.

Who We Are:

We are a grassroots organization dedicated to building better lives for those affected by mental illness. Over 30 years ago, a group of Schenectady parents founded a support group to help one another cope with the effects of their family members' mental illness. The Schenectady Relatives Group became incorporated as AMI-Schenectady in 1988 and has been meeting ever since. In 1998 the group officially changed its name to NAMI Schenectady to reflect its affiliation with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Our Goals and Objectives Are:

  1. to help one another in family support groups.
  2. to educate ourselves 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 fight the stigma associated 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.

How We Achieve Our Goals:

We encourage attendance at family support groups where we help ourselves, and others with relatives and friends who have mental illness, by listening and learning from one another's lived experiences. We help each other get over the hurdles in obtaining services and assistance from local mental health and housing providers, hospitals and governmental agencies for our loved ones.

We conduct monthly meetings with a speaker and discussion, held locally either at lunchtime or in the early evenings. There are no monthly meetings in July, August or January, but the organization's Annual Meeting is held early in the new year. Free educational literature on mental illnesses and related topics are made available for the asking.

We advocate at local, state, and federal government levels for better funding, services and conditions for people with mental illness, while combating stigma against mental illness, and calling for the protection of basic human rights and dignity.

We also counter the myths about mental illness through educating the public at forums, by writing editorials and issuing public statements, by participating in NAMI Walks, and by offering free to the public NAMI's Signature Programs like the Family to Family course.

We donate funds to local agencies such as Bethesda House for the social, recreational, educational and other activities of those with mental illness, and volunteer our time to sponsor and encourage healthy social and recreational activites for interested persons in recovery.

When and Where We Meet:

The core group for NAMI affiliates is a relatives support group that helps families cope with the serious mental illness of someone in their care.

We merged our support group with the Ellis Hospital mental health education and support group which meets weekly inside Ellis Hospital. (See "Relative Support" upper right part of this page.)

We hold regular meetings for education and advocacy outside the hospital. Regular monthly meetings are suspended during the months of January, July and August. For meeting dates, times and locations please see our current newsletter or "Contact" us.

How to Join Us

Membership is open to all who have an interest in mental health issues. There are three membership levels: Individual dues at $40 annually, Household dues at $60 annually and Open Door dues at $5 annually (for those on limited income).

The benefits of NAMI membership are:

  1. Membership at all three levels of the organization: NAMI National, NAMY-NYS and NAMI Schenectady.
  2. Eligibility to vote in all NAMI elections.
  3. A subscription to "NAMI Advocate," the NAMI National magazine.
  4. Discounts on publications and registration at NAMI's annual convention, state and local conferences.
  5. Access to members-only material on the NAMI National website.

Applying for membership in NAMI is easy - there are several options:

Click on "Membership Application" at the top of this page for a NAMI Schenectady application form and instructions for submission . . OR . .

Our newsletter includes a NAMI Schenectady application form and instructions for submission . . OR . .

If you prefer to complete a NAMI application online, click here:
NAMI national online application form

We also welcome donations or gifts in memory or in honor of others, and we will acknowledge these. Your dues and donations are tax deductible. NAMI Schenectady, an affiliate of NAMI-NYS is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

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.