The President of NAMI, a good man dedicated to our cause, sent a letter to affiliates suggesting that if NAMI National were to focus primarily on serious mental illness, as many affiliates and states still do–that that would create a smaller tent for NAMI, and make NAMI less effective than the broad-based mental-wellness type organization that NAMI National has morphed into.

His letter was sent in light of the fact that four candidates for the NAMI board are running on the “Focus on Serious Mental Illness” ticket. I am one of the candidates. We were all told not to campaign. But because that letter was sent, I thought it important to clarify for you what we are proposing and why we think a clearer focus on the seriously ill is needed at NAMI. Below is the letter I sent to the President of NAMI addressing this. Please feel free to share. Thank you.

DJ Jaffe

Author, Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill

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DJ Jaffe is Executive Director of the non-partisan Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He is a critic of the mental health industry for ignoring the seriously ill, and has been advocating for better treatment for individuals with serious mental illness for over 30 years. He has written op-eds on the intersection of mental health and criminal justice policy for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post. New York Magazine has credited him with being the driving force behind the passage of New York’s Kendra’s Law and Congress incorporated ideas proposed by DJ in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.