40th Anniversary

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NAMI Minnesota
1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400
Saint Paul, MN 55104

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
fax: 651-645-7379

email: namihelps@namimn.org

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Celebrating Change

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

NAMI Minnesota Video - 40 Years: Stories of Hope/Voices for Change
NAMI Minnesota Podcasts - Talks by NAMI Superheroes
NAMI Minnesota Pioneers - Photos of many of NAMI's Pioneers
NAMI Minnesota's History - NAMI History Highlights
NAMI Minnesota Honored - Gov. Declares NAMI Minnesota Day
NAMI Minnesota: 40 Years of Inspired Activism - MinnPost 3-1-17
NAMI Minnesota Awards - Award Winners 1986-2016

NAMI Minnesota's 40th Year Celebration

NAMI Minnesota is celebrating its 40th Anniversary Year of providing education, support and advocacy. The organization was formed in 1976-77, taking on the legislature for the first time in 1976 and incorporating in 1977. “We’ll do anything. Just call off the mothers,” one legislator was heard to say after the fledgling coalition of family members, mostly mothers, barraged legislators with phone calls and visits to get the state to transfer funds from the closing of Hastings State Hospital to create community mental health services.

The legislators gave in and provided a little over $1.5 million – the first state monies for community mental health programs in Minnesota.

Led by Pat Solomonson, a mother of five who was unable to get services for her son with schizophrenia, the mothers stayed in high gear. Four years later, in 1981 the Coalition – NAMI Minnesota was then known as the Mental Health Advocates Coalition – secured nearly $12 million more for community support programs, day treatment, crisis intervention, drop-in programs and residential programs. It was still only the beginning.

Throughout the year, NAMI Minnesota will mark this noteworthy anniversary with a number of events, including a grassroots 40 city tour by executive director Sue Abderholden to raise awareness; the recognition of 40 people who have shaped and are shaping the history of the organization – including stories and video presentations on their involvement. NAMI’s celebration will also reach out on social media and our website with stories of hope and impact that we are gathering from our classes, support groups, partners, events, donors and volunteers.

The first NAMI Minnesota board formed in 1977. Brother and sister John Lackner and Marcella Anthone, middle front, were key leaders.

Early Praise for NAMI Minnesota (formerly Mental Health Advocates Coalition)

“Recent improvements in Minnesota’s mental health system would not have come to pass without the Mental Health Advocates Coalition.” – Virginia Dayton, member of the President’s Commission on Mental Health

“The Coalition has prompted government to re-direct mental health monies into community treatment programs – a benefit to taxpayers as well as a more effective way to meet individual needs. – Dave Durenberger, U.S. Senator

“The success this Coalition of advocates is demonstrating in working towards integrating mental health clients into the community suggests its value. – Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States, as read into the Congressional Record

“A viable agent of change that has greatly contributed to my own knowledge of mental health problems and certainly deserving of support.” – Al Quie, Governor of Minnesota

“Minnesota is fortunate in having a vehicle for bringing consumers and providers together for constructive change in the publically supported mental health system. The successful legislative and public education record of MHAC is a good example of what can be accomplished when people work together.” – Rudy Perpich, Governor of Minnesota

NAMI Minnesota's Concludes 40-City Grassroots Tour

NAMI Minnesota concluded its "40 Years of Change," 40-city tour on Jan. 10 in St. Paul where the organization first formed 40 years ago. Over the past several months NAMI's executive director Sue Abderholden made 40 presentations in 40 cities on the history of the mental health system in Minnesota and the many positive changes NAMI Minnesota has helped create.

After the statewide tour Abderholden reflected, "I learned so much along the way about what people with mental illnesses and their families have gone through and face today and the problems faced by providers and the barriers and problems that still face our mental health system. But l also am filled with hope for the future because I met hundreds of people who have pledged to work for change and have joined our movement."

Cities visited on the tour were Sandstone, North Branch, Cambridge, Red Wing, Milaca, Albert Lea, Northfield, Stillwater, Montevideo, Willmar, Hutchinson, International Falls, Virginia, Grand Rapids, St. Cloud, Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, Crookston, Thief River Falls, Bemidji, Park Rapids, Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Morris, Alexandria, Redwood Falls, Marshall, Worthington, Fairmont, Mankato, Savage, Minnetonka, Buffalo, Duluth, Winona, Rochester, Eagan, Minneapolis and St. Paul. (Map from MinnPost Article.)