NAMI-Charlotte’s story begins in 1971 when two mothers met to support one another about mental health concerns in their families. They invited others to join their group, which they called the Schizophrenia Association of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina.
As the group grew and needed a larger meeting place, one member who worshipped at St. John’s Baptist Church suggested it as a possible space. St. John’s embraced the idea and has continued to support NAMI in the 45 years since then. Not only has St. John’s provided a meeting room and a storage space, but they have also enabled NAMI to use their mailing address. We are truly grateful to St. John’s Baptist Church for their ongoing support.
Our local mental health group has changed names over the years. In 1975, it became known as the Metrolina Association of the Carolinas. However, this name did not reflect the group’s primary concerns regarding mental illness. To better communicate our focus, we changed our name in February of 1999 to Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Metrolina Chapter.
Since that time, mental illness has become a national concern and groups with various names have spread throughout our country. As NAMI, which was started in 1979 by a small group of families, evolved into a National organization, all local groups were encouraged to adopt its name. In March of 2007 we changed our affiliate’s name to National Alliance on Mental Illness – NAMI-Charlotte.
Throughout our history, our NAMI affiliate has had eighteen presidents who have provided outstanding leadership. NAMI has blossomed into our nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today local affiliates, state organizations, and volunteers work to raise awareness and provide support, education and advocacy to a cross-section of society seeking better mental health.