Welcome to NAMI Schenectady

Affiliation


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 meetings in July, August or January, but our annual meeting is held in December. 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 meetings are suspended during the months of December, January, July and August. For meeting dates, times and locations please see our current monthly 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.

Our current newsletter will include 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 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.