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History of NAMI Mt San Jacinto


The organization that we know today as NAMI Mt San Jacinto is the result of the efforts of a few courageous parent leaders, many families and individuals; friends and professionals that worked hard in the 1970′s and 1980′s to give birth to an organization that would completely change the way we view mental illness. During that time families dreamed of the day when a child with schizophrenia would be treated no differently than a child with another chronic illness like leukemia or developmental disability. They hoped for a time when mental health could be discussed openly and their  family members could be properly cared for in their own communities. We take this for granted today. Accomplishing these simple goals, however, would not be easy.

For NAMI Mt San Jacinto, it all began when Dick and Peggy Zisch began a support group for families in the local Hemet area. They named themselves “Friends of the Mentally Ill” and this was a family organization.  They were joined by many other parent-leaders, families, individuals living with mental health conditions, and supporters over the years.  Together, they started an organization that turned into a national movement to inform and educate the country about mental health conditions and advocate for the rights and care, of persons with mental health conditions, and their family members. It is an organization that has changed the way we think about, treat and care for mental health conditions forever.

Eventually NAMI Mt San Jacinto became a non-profit association and changed its name to Alliance for the Mentally Ill of San Jacinto.  Later the name was changed to NAMI  Mt. San Jacinto and by this time there were  offices in Sacramento to lobby on behalf of the mentally ill and as founding members of CAMI (California Alliance on Mental Illness). CAMI is now known as NAMI California

There are now three important levels of NAMI:  local, state and national.

Since its inception in 1979, NAMI (National) has established itself as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. Dedication, steadfast commitment and unceasing belief in the NAMI’s mission have produced profound changes. NAMI has been the driving force behind a national investment in lifesaving research, parity for mental health care, increased housing and to ensure that treatments and services are available to those in need when they need them most. NAMI awareness efforts have successfully addressed the stigma and discrimination of mental health conditions, ensuring the decrease of barriers to  recovery, treatment and hope.   NAMI’s signature education programs have served as a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of families and individuals whose lives are affected by mental health conditions and the discrimination that we face in our society.





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