Mission & Vision
NAMI California is a grassroots organization of families and individuals whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. We advocate for lives of quality and respect, without discrimination and stigma, for all our constituents. We provide leadership in advocacy, legislation, policy development, education and support throughout California.
NAMI California is the leading organization of individuals working with mutual respect to provide help, hope and health for those affected by serious mental illness.
NAMI California is dedicated to the strengthening of local grassroots organizations. We provide updated information and support to local affiliates and are here to help organize new affiliates. NAMI California has 62 local affiliates and represents 19,000 people to the California Legislature and Governor on mental illness issues. NAMI California educates families, professionals and the public about the recent explosion of scientific evidence that shows serious mental illnesses are neurobiological brain disorders. NAMI California works to provide a strong, coherent system that offers a continuum of care for the persistent, long-term needs of people with mental illness. NAMI California advocates for increased research to uncover causes and new, effective treatments. NAMI California strives to eradicate stigma.
The organization that we know today as NAMI California is the result of the efforts of a few courageous parent leaders, many families and thousands of individuals; friends and professionals that worked hard in the 1970s and 1980s to give birth to an organization that would completely change the way we view mental illness.
It all began at a meeting of nine Northern California parent groups in Oakland, California on October 22, 1977. These three founded and led the organization from the late ’70s into the 1980s. They were joined by many other parent-leaders, families, consumers, and supporters over the years. Together, they started an organization that turned into a national movement to inform and educate the country about mental illness and advocate for the rights and care of mentally ill family members. It is an organization that has changed the way we think about, treat and care for mental illness forever.
Jessica Cruz, MPA/HS
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Vice President of Operations
Vice President of Strategic Planning
Community Engagement Coordinator
Brianna Vargas, MS
Community Engagement Manager
Board of Directors
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