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NAMI Queens Nassau History

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979, NAMI has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. NAMI Queens/Nassau is one of the largest affiliates in New York State.

NAMI Queens/Nassau began at Hillside Hospital in 1980 as PATH (People Acting Together with Hope) and soon after allied with the newly formed national organization, Alliance for the Mentally Ill and became AMI/PATH. In 1984 we received tax-exempt status becoming a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AMI was eventually changed to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). In 1998, to better reflect our community, we changed our name to NAMI Queens/Nassau. In 2006 NAMI became the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

From the beginning support and education were the bedrock of AMI-PATH with regular caring and sharing groups and monthly meetings with guest speakers. In the early 90’s AMI/PATH initiated two programs that remain current; the Friendship Network, a socialization program for consumers, and Breaking the Silence, mental illness education packets for grades 4-12. We have since added NAMI Signature programs, In Our Own Voice, Family-to-Family, and Basics.

In addition to providing support and education, NAMI Queens/Nassau also played an important role in developing mental health services in our community. Under our leadership three clubhouses promoting psycho-social rehabilitation were established; Venture House and NAMI Connections, Queens County and the Nassau Clubhouse, Nassau County. NAMI Queens/Nassau also played an important role in creating Plan of New York, a community trust for families, which is currently operated by the Jewish Board. Today we are one of the largest affiliates in New York State.

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