NAMI Minnesota’s History 1976-2019

A Timeline of NAMI Minnesota’s History 1976-2019:

• Seeds of the organization are planted when a small group of advocates challenge state policy to close Hastings State Hospital with no transfer of funds.
• The “kitchen table” coalition develops a mental health pilot program, Sharing Life in the Community (SLIC), and organizes a constituency of sufficient size and strength to convince the Legislature to provide funding.
• The upstart group of advocates originates Minnesota’s first self-help family support group called Families of the Emotionally Disturbed United for Progress (FED-UP).

• Mental Health Advocates Coalition (MHAC) of Minnesota is formed and incorporated to address community needs statewide.
• Project Overcome, an ex-patient education and outreach program, is co-sponsored by the Coalition.
• Word of the pilot program’s success prompts Sen. Hubert Humphrey to share details about the Coalition’s work in the Congressional Record, with a request for similar national advocacy efforts.

• The impending state hospital closing remains a political football, yet advocates secure $300,000 in legislative funding for the development of community alternatives, only to find language in the bill makes the money unspendable!  Bemoans one legislator who fought it to the end: “I suppose this means every county in the state will be coming to us with similar requests in future sessions.”
• “FEDERAL MENTAL HEALTH MONEY BEING MISSPENT” shouts a front-page headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  The new Coalition arranges the exposure, and changes are made to re-direct the money.
• The Department of Welfare (DPW) comes under fire for “mental health miss-management,” and former officials of the Department speak out at a press conference sponsored by MHAC.
• Licensing rule for residential treatment (Rule 36) can’t be enforced because the Legislature forgot to attach funding!  Coalition members begin three years of urging studies and research, serving on the Department review team, securing bill authors, and testifying in support of Rule 36 funding.
• Intensive MHAC involvement in the Governor’s Task force results in a commitment from Gov. Perpich to prioritize the needs of persons with mental illness and develop a plan to implement the recommendations.

• Gov. Al Quie (left) is guided on a tour of the “mental health ghetto” by MHAC members.  Quie role-plays the part of a patient, spending time in lock-up at a hospital, being discharged into the community, seeking a treatment residence, being placed on a waiting list, and filling out assistance forms.
• MHAC sponsors legislation for Community Support (Rule 14) Services, which leads to the establishment of 29 new and innovative day treatment and community support programs.
• Coalition members play a large role in the TV documentary “Backwards to Backstreets”, a show depicting the effects of deinstitutionalization and the dire need for community care.
• A rash of suicides within ranks of MHAC-involved families prompts the Coalition to ask why through a newspaper and TV press conference.

• MHAC’s dramatic slide show “The Way Home,” depicts the advantages of good community programs and the lingering need for reforms.
• MHAC’s information booth at the MN State Fair attracts tens of thousands of interested people and provides vital public information and education.
• A volunteer “Self-Help Network” is started by MHAC to meet the need for individual help and support.
• The Coalition synthesizes 12 major mental health studies and publishes “Consensus: Recommendations for Minnesota’s Mental Health System” to aid decision-makers in setting directions for the state’s mental health system.
• “The Advocate’s Book,” a comprehensive resource guide intended to connect consumers with the best available resources, is published by MHAC.

• Grassroots volunteer time and commitment to MHAC is recognized as local leaders receive community honors and the Coalition’s co-founder Pat Solomonson (left) is brought to Washington for a National volunteer award.
• Annual luncheon for legislators features mental health clients sharing their experiences with mental illness and with the system, emphasizing the newly developed community programs which helped them recover.

• The heart-warming stories of Coalition members who came back from mental illness are published in the popular booklet “Meet Five People who have Overcome the Stigma of Mental Illness.”
• MHAC sponsors the first Sibling Support Group in the state for brothers and sisters of persons with mental illness.
• Two training sessions for providers on dealing with SSI cutbacks and how to appeal an SSI decision are co-sponsored by MHAC.
• A Speaker’s Bureau comprised of families, people who have had treatment, and service providers is started.
• Media monitoring efforts on mental illness produce calls and letters from members expressing their reactions to news articles, TV and radio programs, and the entertainment industry.
• MHAC leads a select group of community leaders on a tour of some of the state’s newest community treatment facilities to demonstrate what can be done when funding is available.

• Aided by a group of advertising professionals who selected our organization from among competing groups, MHAC launches a major anti-stigma campaign.  Radio spots and print ads are circulated throughout Minnesota.
• MHAC is singled out for its volunteer efforts, receiving the J.C. Penny Golden Rule Volunteer Award.
• The McKnight Foundation recognizes MHAC’s accomplishments in creating positive change in the mental health system with a three-year grant to aid similar systems change activity at county and community levels.
• An in-house insurance task force is established to study mental health coverage in various insurance plans and MN insurance statutes.
• MHAC is selected by the McKnight Foundation to oversee and edit the production of a video and book on how to develop community support services entitled, “With Open Arms.”
• The Coalition initiates and is involved in drafting, introduction and lobbying for passage of a data privacy bill to protect client’s
names on record in community mental health centers.

• The Coalition joins with 18 other MN organizations concerned about mental health issues to set common goals.  Known as the MN Mental Health Legislative Network, this group sets the stage for future legislative victories with MHAC/AMI in a lead role.
• The organization plays a catalytic role in a series of meetings between the Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Dept. of Human Services with the purpose of establishing a working agreement for meeting the vocational needs of clients.
• Our public information specialists are called upon for information, direction and background as two of the major TV stations begin preparing in-depth documentaries on mental illness and deinstitutionalization.
• Distribution of the Mental Health ADVOCATE newspaper is doubled to reach 7,500 readers.

• The Coalition publishes a consumer opinion survey on needs for services in Minnesota as seen by over 800 families and mental health clients representing 60 counties.  The results are distributed to legislators and other policy-makers.
• Public programs on the Commitment Process, The Role of State Hospitals, and The Homeless are presented by MHAC.
• “Roads to Recovery,” a 29-minute video which tells the true stories of four people who have experienced mental illness is released and becomes an instant success at providing hope and awareness.

• The efforts of consumers and families are galvanized to present testimony at the Governor’s Mental Health Commission hearings in ten cities.  One state official remarks, “It was an unprecedented response to these kind of hearings!”  Soon after, the Governor puts together a recommendation for sweeping changes in the mental health system.
• The three-year McKnight funded outreach project meets its goal with the development of over 20 active consumer advocacy groups around the state.
• Mental Health Advocates Coalition changes its name to the Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) of Minnesota, becoming the state affiliate of the national grassroots advocacy movement.

• THE THRILL OF VICTORY!  With the largest advocacy effort ever put together for mental health issues in Minnesota, including a rally of over 500 people at that the State Capitol, AMI/MN helps prompt landmark legislation calling for community support programs in every county by 1990.  Five other major bills are also passed, and an increase of $14 million in funding for community mental health services is achieved.

• The battle against housing discrimination continues, with AMI providing advocacy for locating more group homes in suburbs resistant to change.
• Newly mandated local mental health advisory councils around the state become packed with AMI members and leaders.
• Pushing for more progress on the heels of the 1987 reforms, AMI and others help five more system improvement bills pass.
• A press conference and party are held at AMI’s new office on Selby and Snelling as three senior cyclists riding across America for NAMI pass through Minnesota.
• Jarvis decision is handed down requiring separate hearings on medication and commitment.  AMI and others work to streamline the process which delays needed treatment.
• AMI holds a press conference at the Capitol to release Dr. Torrey’s research group findings which rank Minnesota 33rd in mental health services.  Torrey also keynotes AMI’s annual conference.

• Debate over the future role of state hospitals continues with AMI as a key player in the negotiations.
• Media watch efforts by AMI result in two national chains pulling stigmatizing ads.
• The Fair Housing Act goes into effect, forbidding discrimination and putting legal teeth in efforts to locate community programs.
• Advocates help pass the Children’s Mental Health Services Act, but minimal funding is provided to carry it out.

• Legislative Auditor finds “the goal of a comprehensive mental health system has not been met.”  AMI uses the findings and other studies including the Torrey report to urge expansion of community programs.
• AMI’s video “Silent No More” is released and over 500 copies are immediately sold to the state for distribution throughout Minnesota.
• The ADVOCATE exposes $3.5 million in unspent case management funds and the story is quickly picked up by the Star Tribune.  Distribution of the funds helps decrease client to caseworker ratios.
• Outraged AMI members protest the police shooting of Jim Ludwig, a mentally ill homeless man, and action is taken to train police.
• As Community Support Programs expand, consumers begin demanding more choices in what the new system will provide, such as individually tailored housing, support, and employment services.
• Clozapine finally becomes available in Minnesota, and AMI members work to ensure state funding for the expensive “wonder” drug.

• As the system remains in flux and turf battles over service delivery are waged, AMI tries to get the “system” to refocus on recovery.  Consumers Fred Frese and Tom Posey are brought to Minnesota to share their inspiration.
• AMI’s top legislative goal for the year is achieved — the reorganization of the administration of mental health services at DHS under a single point of leadership.
• Advocates succeed in passing the Advanced Medical Directives bill to help individuals declare their treatment preferences in the event of a reoccurrence of their illness.
• With critically needed actuarial data obtained by AMI backing them up, two insurance equality bills are passed for the uninsured and underinsured, only to be vetoed by Gov. Carlson.
• 17,000 letters and famous people bookmarks are mailed to the general public with a message from Joan Mondale urging support of the Alliance.
• Vigorous protests from families force the price of Clozapine to be cut by 50%, making it much more widely available.
• Seven AMI Networks are started to address special concerns.  They are: Forensic, Veterans, Legal, Consumer Council, Homeless and Missing, Religious, and Children.

• Signatures are gathered on a national petition to gain health insurance equality.  By the year’s end, over 500,000 signatures are presented to Congress.
• “We’ve reached a crossroads” with community and institutional care, and AMI takes the lead in a plan for the statewide development and broad expansion of the community programs that consumers want and need.
• The Anoka Alternatives pilot, strongly backed by AMI, proves successful at transitioning even “the most difficult to serve clients” from hospital to community.
• AMI’s friendship with Sen. Paul Wellstone is affirmed, as he becomes a key figure in the fight for national insurance parity.
• Policies restricting access to Clozapine are successfully challenged, and AMI assists in efforts to form a Clozapine support network.
• Grants are obtained to form new AMI groups and help give more support to existing local AMI’s in Minnesota.
• AMI is selected by the MN Arabian Horse Breeders to benefit from their annual horse show proceeds – helping AMI for four straight years.

• When 5% budget cuts threaten to reduce services in residential and community support programs the protests of AMI members and friends are heard and the cuts restored.
• Proposals to eliminate mental illness coverage from MNCARE are introduced but AMI works to ensure the coverage is kept in the package.
• AMI’s first Candlelight Vigil is held at the State Capitol with over 200 people attending to launch Mental Illness Awareness Week.
• With Moose Lake State Hospital slated to close, advocates convince the Governor to put $2.5 million into aftercare programs, transitional services, and ongoing community-based services.
• Two AMI initiatives are passed by the legislature: creating a crisis assistance housing fund, and changing data privacy laws to help families get more information about treatment status and diagnosis.
• AMI surveys 144 jails in Minnesota about the mental health services they provide, finding only a small fraction offer anything.
• Town hearings are held on how insurance discrimination impacts individuals and the community.

• An 88-member state Task Force labors for a year on recommendations for a better mental health system.  The effort flops when no consensus can be reached even though a majority wants to see community-based services expanded.
• Two AMI sponsored initiatives pass.  One is to monitor emergency mental health services; the other is for a study of staff mental health training needs in correctional facilities.
• The Journey of Hope Family Education program begins in Minnesota and trains 315 persons in its first two years.
• AMI Joins with the Mental Health Association and ten other organizations in forming the MN Education Network for Mental Health to further promote the ideas of consumer choice, respect, and recovery.

• PARITY PASSES – the insurance parity bill which AMI and other groups have worked on for over five years passes into law in Minnesota.
• Educational materials are distributed in record numbers for Mental Illness Awareness Week through volunteer efforts at metro area shopping malls, Knowlan’s Stores, and the Mall of America.
• AMI holds its first annual Walk For Research to help NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) in its exciting research efforts.
• Anti-stigma billboards are launched throughout the state with the help of a major contribution from AMI members to the MN Education Network for Mental Health.

• The National Campaign to End Discrimination begins. AMI starts a Speaker’s Bureau and secures volunteers to become active in the five-year campaign.
• Needed funds arrive through the new AMI Household Discard program, which collects and sells household items and clothes for resale to the public.
• Basics of Managed Care workshops are provided by AMI to help consumers learn how to obtain needed services.
• AMI is active in National legislative issues including working for true insurance parity, fighting cuts in subsidized housing, and monitoring welfare reform.
• Persistence of advocates helps restore severe cuts in Personal Care Attendant services.

• Alliance Founders gather for 20th Anniversary, attributing their successes to the unique “coalition building” of consumers, families and providers working together – which made the organization nationally recognized and, after a time, was replicated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
• AMI-supported bills to increase funding for Crisis Housing assistance and the Bridges Housing program are passed.  The Supported Employment projects are also funded.
• AMI is active in monitoring cost-shifting loopholes in the managed care demonstration project proposals.
• Continued advocacy efforts help prompt $3.3 million for phase two of the adult mental health pilot projects to address problems in the system.
• Fifteen Journey of Hope family education classes are held during the past year, and 207 more family members benefit from the 12-week course.

• The consumer education program BRIDGES begins classes in four locations throughout the state.
• The Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) officially changes its name to NAMI-MN as a part of a national effort to unify name recognition of local and state affiliates of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
• Nineteen new Family-to-Family teachers are trained.

• NAMI-MN receives the 1999 Award for Outstanding Advocacy Efforts for its efforts to ensure that individuals in the correctional system receive the best treatment possible.
• Statewide public hearings are held on mental health services.
• The newly remodeled Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center opened its doors. Complementing this new treatment center are two transitional residences opening in St Paul and Bloomington.
• Both the Crisis Housing program and the BRIDGES Transitional Housing Program receive sizeable increases in their operating budgets.
• The Forensic Network helps train Southwest Minnesota police officers.

• NAMI-MN launches its website.
• Senators Paul Wellstone, Pete Domenici and Edward Kennedy introduce the Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000.
• The Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network and its dozen plus statewide organizations, which NAMI-MN co-chairs, puts forward a comprehensive mental health bill to improve and expand mental health services.
• MN Attorney General Mike Hatch files suit against Blue Cross Clue Shield for failing to provide children with needed mental health and chemical dependency services.

• The Surgeon General releases a report warning that the nation is facing a mental health crisis for children and adolescents.
• The Mental Health Act of 2001, an ambitious attempt to overhaul the existing mental health system is introduced and passes, appropriating nearly $33 million dollars in new biennial funding. The act includes: expanded coverage for crisis services, changes in commitment which will make early intervention more possible, more crisis housing, a ruling that court ordered mental health services are no longer subject to “medically necessary” determinations by insurers.
• Ten billboards conveying “Schizophrenia is Treatable” are placed throughout the metro area to kick-off Mental Illness Awareness Week.
• NAMI-MN expands its Board of Directors from 15 to 25 members in order to increase diversity.
• A new group, the Consumer Council, begins meeting with 14 members. Their goal is to facilitate advocacy among its members.
• The development committee begins plans for a 25th Anniversary celebration in 2002.

• NAMI celebrates its 25th Anniversary.  Special guests include early founders and leaders in the movement, including U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone.
• Advocates work to keep the gains from 2001 from being cut because of budget shortfalls.
• NAMI begins offering more educational programs for siblings, caregivers, consumers, teachers and kids.
• NAMI helps prompt investigation of drug abuse at Anoka-Metro RTC.
• Over 300 people attend a NAMI/SAVE joint annual conference, keynoted by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher.

• Severe budget cuts force Minnesota to begin reshaping its mental health services to try to capture more federal funds.
• Mental Health Action Group (MHAG) forms to focus on actions needed to improve key areas of the mental health system.
• Music for the Mind benefit helps NAMI raise over $70,000.
• First Annual Research Dinner is held by NAMI and the University of Minnesota.
• Minnesota volunteers play a key role at the NAMI National Convention, which is held in Minneapolis and draws over 2,000 people.
• NAMI is the main force behind legislation to upgrade the training of teachers in responding to persons with mental illness.

• Huge mental health rally at the Capitol calls on legislators to restore budge cuts and end co-payments for medications and services.
• NAMI brings suit to end co-payments for medications and services that are keeping consumers from accessing mental health services and treatment.
• Legislative deadlock leaves most of the mental health legislation passed in 2004 in limbo.
• Evidenced-Based Practices start taking shape in Minnesota.
• Minnesota is found to have one of the lowest ratios of psychiatrists per person in the nation — meaning long waits and devastating consequences.
• Major problems uncovered at Minnesota nursing homes, including deplorable conditions and housing of sex offenders with vulnerable adults.
• NAMI moves its offices to 800 Transfer Rd., Suite 7A, in St. Paul.

• Legislative efforts succeed in stopping proposed MNCare cuts.
• NAMI and public TV partner to create two TV programs on mental illness.
• DHS enlists NAMI to insure family and consumer involvement in the newly emerging evidence-based children’s mental health system.
• 67 Legislators form a MN Mental Health Legislative Caucus, the first of its kind in the country.
• The Mental Health Action Group issues a Roadmap for Change, outlining key changes needed in the mental health system.
• NAMI’s new Building Bridges project helps consumers transitioning from the criminal justice system to the community to access benefits and supports.
• NAMI and others claim victory in a lawsuit over co-payments for medications and services.
• Hope for Recovery, one-day workshops for families, are offered for the first time and a record 11 Family-to-Family classes are held in the fall.

• Nearly 400 people attend NAMI’s criminal justice forum, featuring David Kaczynski, brother of the unabomber and instrumental in his capture.
• A NAMI survey of Minnesota jails finds high numbers of persons with mental illness yet very little mental health screening and virtually no discharge planning.
• $17.5 million is appropriated to build supportive housing for persons with long-term homelessness.
• NAMI trains correctional staff on how to respond effectively to mental illness.
• The state continues implementing evidenced-based practices for adults and children with mental illness, and develops ten new 16-bed community behavioral health hospitals.
• NAMI co-sponsors its first annual conference on Postpartum Depression.
• NAMI launches its new website at
• Open Door Anxiety and Panic Support groups become part of NAMI-MN.
• NAMI begins offering “Children’s Challenging Behaviors” classes and starts an African American Outreach program.
• Staying Together Training is started by NAMI and educates 250 family members and professionals at its first two trainings.

• The largest anti-stigma event ever held in the state draws 1,300 people for the inaugural NAMIWalks Minnesota.
• Advocates spark $34 million in new funding for mental health services, including initiatives to expand case management, provide more screening and intervention, develop school-based mental health services, and increase funding for housing, employment, and evidence-based programs.
• Open Door Anxiety and Panic support groups merge with NAMI-MN.
• NAMI develops ambitious 5-year strategic plan to make NAMI “the driving force that will change the way Minnesotan’s think about and respond to mental illness.”
• National Forum on insurance parity stops in Minneapolis.
• NAMI publishes booklet on the new Family Involvement law, which helps keep families more informed on the care of their loved one.
• NAMI partners with TC public TV to produce a video aimed at families of veterans called “Coming Home: Supporting Your Soldier.”
• NAMI’s Building Bridges project helps train over 300 county jail staff throughout the state.
• NAMI hires an educator to train emergency room staff on how to better meet the needs of persons with mental illness.

• NAMI offers over 70 fall classes, covering all 16 regions of the state.
• Over 1,500 join in NAMIWalks, raising awareness and $232,000.
• Advocates celebrate VICTORY after a 20-year battle as national insurance parity is signed into law. Minnesotans Rep. Jim Ramstad and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone play key roles.
• NAMI continues to train jail staff and push for better discharge planning.
• NAMI helps oversee implementation of huge legislative gains made in 2007.
• Over 6,000 State Fair-goers stop by NAMI’s booth to get information.
• To accommodate its growing staff and programs, NAMI doubles its office space.
• New affiliates sprout in Duluth, Bemidji, Austin, Ortonville, Morris, Rice county, Crookston, Anoka, Moorhead and Willmar.
• NAMI’s bill on voluntary placement agreements passes, helping parents retain custody of children who need out of home treatment.
• Volunteer presence expands after NAMI hires a full-time volunteer resources director.
• NAM’s website draws 41,000 unique visitors and over 1.25 million hits.

• State faces huge budget deficits, but NAMI’s persistent advocacy efforts protect mental health care from cuts.
• Re-design of State Operated Services without input from families and consumers is challenged by NAMI until stakeholders are included.
• NAMI provides 144 free classes on mental illness and more than 40 ongoing support groups throughout the state.
• NAMI Connection and Vet Connection support groups are launched.
• National award for Outstanding State NAMI goes to NAMI Minnesota, and advocacy work is lauded as “a model we would like to see replicated in every state.”
• African American awareness of mental illness is keynoted at NAMI’s annual conference and during the year with public discussions, classes and support groups.
• NAMI members testify at all-day Civil Justice Committee legislative hearing on mental illness in the criminal justice system.
• NAMI sponsors town meetings and letter writing campaign to raise awareness of impending GAMC cuts.
• Public exposure to NAMI’s work surges as over 1500 articles appear in more than 250 publications.
• Get to Know NAMI gatherings, Mental Health First Aid, and NAMI in the Lobby are started.
• More than 2,000 participate in NAMIWalks Minnesota, raising $283,000.
• Keeping Families Together DVD and booklet helps families retain custody of their children who are in residential treatment.
• Volunteer efforts continue to grow as 275 volunteers donate over 8,000 hours to the cause.

• Groundbreaking NAMI film shows how connecting inmates to resources prior to their release reduces recidivism.
• Governor axes the GAMC program, but advocates revive it in a reduced form.
• Funding cuts send mental health system into a tailspin, and the 2007 reforms all but vanish.
• NAMI Connection support groups keep growing around the state.
• NAMIWalks shows broad community impact, with over 2,500 walkers and $287,000 raised.
• Advocates fight additional deep cuts to PCA services.
• Sixty-member Transformation Task Force meets for six months but offers no realistic plans for change.
• Online educational program helps NAMI train hospital staff.
• Multicultural outreach efforts expand with more classes and support groups targeted for African Americans.
• Education is targeted for older adults living with a mental illness.

• Organized town meetings with legislators and led efforts for a huge Rally at the Capitol with over 700 people joining to protest proposed funding cuts.
• Initiated a week of “Mayday” activities at the Capitol to send distress signals to legislators regarding proposed cuts to the mental health system.
• NAMI and Regions Hospital partner to launch a project to reduce stigma within hospitals. Posters and materials promoting respect, support, information sharing, hope and recovery are developed and circulated around the state.
• NAMI’s advocacy is honored with awards from the MN Association of Community Mental Health Programs, People Incorporated, and Resource Inc.
• Joined the Community Health Charities workplace giving program.
• NAMI starts and expands a Experienced Parent Project, begins a suicide Means Restriction Education program, and develops a training for providers on Natural Supports – involving more family and friends.
• The fifth year NAMIWalks Minnesota is the biggest yet, attracting over 3,200 participants and raising more than $320,000. A second walk on the same date is held in St. Cloud.
* A NAMI formed workgroup to examines how to improve Adult Foster Care Services.
• Support efforts keep expanding with the addition of a NAMI Connection GLBTQ support group, a Daughters & Sons family support group, and Progression classes for teens.
• NAMI trains correction halfway house staff, publishes booklet on Navigating the Juvenile Justice System, and prompts prisons to use Crisis Intervention Training.

• NAMI Minnesota celebrates its 35th Year of creating positive changes in the mental health system.
• NAMI’s Tenth Annual Research Dinner shares the latest research on mental illnesses.
• Over 700 join forces to educate legislators on Valentines Day and their relentless efforts help restore $18 million in cuts to programs and services.
• NAMI publishes booklet on what families and individuals need to know about psychiatric hospitalization.
• More than 3,500 attend NAMIWalks and KSTP TV’s Ken Barlow chooses the event to reveal his bipolar disorder.
• NAMI co-hosts Minds Interrupted attended by 500 people at the History Theatre in St. Paul. The production garners significant publicity for NAMI’s cause.
• NIMH selects NAMI as an outreach partner.
• Federal Affordable Care Act is passed, meaning increased access to mental health services for millions.
• Advocates help pass a law allowing adult foster care certification for those caring for people living with a mental illness.
• Workgroups co-chaired by NAMI get underway with Adult Mental Health Reform 2020, a comprehensive effort to improve services.
• NAMI’s executive director is named by the Governor to serve on the 11-member HealthCare Exchange committee to develop insurance plans.

• NAMI’s executive director meets with President Obama at a mental health roundtable in Minneapolis that includes the U.S. Attorney General, Gov. Dayton and U.S. Senators Klobuchar and Franken.
• The landscape of mental health is changing as new, modern psychiatric facilities spring up throughout the state.
• NAMI partners with the MakeItOk campaign to develop stories for public television, presentations around the state, and posters on recovery in hospitals.
• NAMI co-hosts the Postpartum Support International Conference held in Minneapolis.
• With input from its stakeholders, NAMI adopts a new five-year strategic plan.
• NAMI holds a Walk a Mile in My Shoes campaign at five schools and launches a youth website,
• After decades of work, federal mental health insurance parity regulations are issued for implementation.
• NAMI hosts a criminal justice roundtable with Sen. Franken; later that week he introduces a bill to boost mental health counseling in schools and prisons.
• Youth Mental Health First Aid classes taught by NAMI catch on quickly and more teachers are trained to teach the popular class.
• Legislative gains include $7.5 million for school-linked mental health services and the passage of 17 policy provisions to improve mental health services and access.
• Despite a persistent rain, nearly 3,000 join in NAMIWalks and raise more than $336,000.
• NAMI-sponsored Community Conversations on Mental Health are held in 19 communities around the state to highlight Mental Illness Awareness Week.
• NAMI increases its suicide awareness and prevention workshops and education.
• MNsure partners with NAMI to help educate families and individuals affected by mental illness on expanded insurance coverage and benefits.

• NAMI press conference raises concerns after Golden Valley votes to block a children’s treatment program.
• Riverwoods abruptly closes mental health centers, leaving 3,000 people in E. Central MN scrambling for care and advocates seeking answers.
• NAMI hosted press conference focuses on problems at the MN Security Hospital.
• The 8th annual NAMIWalks is the largest yet, with over 4,000 walkers and over $397,000 raised.
• NAMI organizes 18 Community Conversations on Mental Health statewide.
• With NAMI as a key partner, the MakeItOK public awareness campaign wins a Regional Emmy Award.
• NAMI plays key role in U.S. Sen. Franken’s National Mental Health in the Schools Act.
• Ten metro area schools join in NAMI’s events for Children’s MH Awareness Day.
• NAMI holds Mental Health Month programs and promotes wearing something green to create awareness.
• NAMI’s Hope for Recovery workshop is redesigned with the help of researchers and families.
• Following meeting with U.S. Sen. Klobuchar NAMI partners with U of M on First Episode Program.
• In Our Own Voice and MakeItOK speakers reach over 100 organizations.
• NAMI helps produce two videos for hospital staff & patients: How to Help and Stories of Recovery.
• NAMI’s focus on youth continues to grow with more classes, support groups, outreach and publications aimed at this population.
• School-linked mental health services are doubled increasing access to thousands.
• NAMI breaks ground with mental health conference at Red Lake Indian Reservation.
• NAMI offers over 500 free classes, workshops and presentations.
• NAMI has leadership role in recommending improvements for the mental health workforce.
• Advocates are ignored in reorganization at DHS that lumps mental & chemical health services division in with disability and aging divisions.
• NAMI is rated the #1 organization for having “high impact in mental health” in MNSights, a magazine on MN philanthropy.

• NAMI leads a press conference where mental health advocates and legislators voice support for building the state’s mental health system.
• Using the message “We Know What Works, Let’s Build on It” over 500 people join in Mental Health Day at the Capitol to support mental health funding.
• Breakthrough year with a record $51 million increase for mental health funding is spearheaded by NAMI.
• Ending the Silence program kicks off in eight schools and reaches over 2,000 young people during Mental Health Month.
• NAMI press conference backs efforts to relocate a crisis home to East St. Paul, garnering media support and convincing City Council members to approve the move.
• Tom’s Big Ride becomes by far the largest individual fundraiser for NAMI, raising mental health awareness and over $110K for NAMI’s programs.
• NAMI enters its third year of MNsure outreach, helping hundreds of families and individuals sign up for healthcare.
• Community Conversations on mental health are held in 17 cities around state to help raise awareness.
• NAMI’s Understanding Psychosis booklet and classes help young people and families cope with first episode psychosis.
• NAMIWalks draws crowd of over 4,500 people and raises over $421,000!
• Parent Resource Groups for families of children and adolescents nearly double, from 8 to 15.
• Nearly 100 In Our Own Voice presentations provide hope and information and bring attention to NAMI’s programs.

• Capitol Success: Mental Health shouts StarTribune front page headline. Policy and funding gains lauded.
• Governor’s backing and a strong push from advocates secures more than $50 million in mental health funding.
• DHS awards NAMI a three-plus year grant to deliver its suicide prevention programs like QPR, safeTALK and ASIST around the state.
• NAMI Minnesota begins it’s 40th Year Celebration – Stories of Hope, Voices for Change.
• Executive director Sue Abderholden tours 40 cities with presentations on the history of the mental health system and the changes NAMI has helped create.
• Acknowledging the need to provide adolescents and young adults with more critical services, First Episode Psychosis programs begin taking shape.
• The 10th annual NAMIWalks Minnesota raises a record $438,000 for NAMI’s programs.
• Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day activities reach thousands of high school students around the state.
• Dr. Steven Miles speaks at NAMI’s Research Dinner about major reforms needed at the University of Minnesota. Internationally known researcher Dr. Sophia Vinogradov is hired to lead the U’s Dept. of Psychiatry.
• $3 million in funding kicks in and mobile mental health services now cover the entire state.
• NAMI helps with the promotion and panel discussion of Touched with Fire, a movie on bipolar disorder.
• Grant allows NAMI to hire an East Metro NAMI affiliate coordinator for Ramsey and Washington counties.

Mental health advocates and others stage a strong advocacy effort to help block potentially devastating changes to Medicaid.
• NAMI prompts press conference and helps lead efforts for Solitary Confinement reforms after newspaper expose series, but no legislation is passed.
• National and state mental health reforms aim to reach people earlier in their illness.
• NAMI and the University of Minnesota celebrate their 15th annual Research Dinner.
• Focus groups conducted by NAMI on First Episode Psychosis Programs assist plans to expand services for adolescents and young adults.
• NAMI Minnesota concludes its 40th anniversary tour of 40 cities and releases stories, podcasts and an 11-minute video of adovcates who helped shape its history.
• Gov. Dayton declares May 6 as NAMI Minnesota Day and NAMI celebrates 40 years of Superheroes at its Spring Gala.
• Online NAMI support groups are offered for adults and young adults.
• NAMIWalks shows its sizzle with 3,700 people walking in very muggy 90+ degree heat and raising over $458,000.
• Minnesota is selected as one of eight states to pilot certified community behavioral health clinics to offer One-Stop-Shop care for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.
• NAMI co-hosts mental health forums for candidates for Governor.

• After over 10 years at its old location, NAMI moves to a larger space at 1919 University Ave., in St. Paul.
• NAMI launches new website at
• Two major reports conclude mental health parity is still far from a reality
• Bonding bill nets $58 million for supportive housing and mental health facilities, and another $50 million for supportive housing.
• Advocates derail efforts to implement work requirements for people on Medical Assistance.
• Session ends in disappointment when legislators refuse to remove controversial sections from the budget bill. The Governor vetoes it leaving $25 million for school mental health grants and support staff and other mental health system improvements undone.
• NAMI forms a multi-cultural young adult mental health advisory board.
• A SAMHSA funded project to enhance the Children’s Mental Health System begins.
• The Minneapolis School District and NAMI partner to put on Super Saturday for Children’s Mental Health.
• NAMI Partners with Suicide Survivors’ Club to offer free, award winning book sets to survivors.
• NAMI takes leadership in the State Fair’s first Mental Health Awareness Day. A total of 38 organizations take part in educating visitors about mental health issues.
• NAMIWalks draws 4,500 walkers and smashes its funding mark with over $515,000 raised.

• NAMI’s board adopts a new 5-year strategic plan for 2019-2024.
• Backed by a jarring news expose and several years of strong advocacy, a bill was passed to create solitary confinement reforms.
• Advocates land big funding boosts for suicide prevention efforts, mental health crisis services, and school-linked mental health services.
• NAMI begins offering an online family support group.
• Led by NAMI, 56 organizations participate in the 2nd annual Mental Health Day at the Fair.
• NAMIWalks attracts over 4,000 people and raises over $500,000. Gov. Tim Walz joined in, meeting with walkers and speaking to the crowd.
• NAMI doggedly follows the implementation of policy legislation passed in 2019, particularly school-linked services, suicide prevention training, and preventing homelessness.
• More and more Do it Yourself fundraisers bring support for NAMI’s programs.
• Competency restoration work groups held with NAMI and other stakeholders make significant progress.
• NAMI Minnesota reaches over 180,000 people through its support groups, classes, helpline, booths, conferences and website.