NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
This is a folder regarding “NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness,” a USA-based nonprofit founded by parents of individuals in the mental health system. While some NAMI members support the mission of MindFreedom and are members, some of the leaders of NAMI have worked to oppose many of our social change movement’s goals. NAMI is one of the few large mental health organizations to refuse to disclose the full amount of funding from the pharmaceutical industry, which according to media investigations is substantial.
The New York Times disclosed that when the US Senate forced NAMI to disclose that more than two-thirds of their money secretly came from psychiatric drug companies, one NAMI board member resigned in public protest: Professor H. Richard Lamb.
The New York Times revealed in Oct. 2009 that the US Senate had to force National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to disclose that a majority of its money is from psychiatric drug companies, a fact that NAMI’s board kept secret for years.
While more and more NAMI members support MindFreedom’s mission, a few NAMI leaders have worked over the decades to oppose campaigns for human rights and alternatives in mental health. One reason they may be creating this divisiveness in the mental health advocacy community is a bias toward a narrow “medical approach” that promotes a theory promoting psychiatric drugs over and above any other approaches. For nearly a decade, MindFreedom has held a count of NAMI’s web site to reveal this bias. [Updated August 2012]
For years NAMI — the National Alliance on Mental Illness — has had an official secrecy policy on the amount of funds NAMI receives from psychiatric drug companies. Because of a US Senate probe in April 2009, NAMI has now disclosed that for the past five years a majority of their funds — 56% — are from the pharmaceutical industry.
You may download a PDF of this lawsuit filed on behalf of several US States about drug company corruption. NAMI was named as one of the defendants because, for example, “Among the strategies intentionally designed to obscure the actual sources and amounts of funding for promotional activities, drug manufacturers have developed relationships with front organizations—industry-funded grassroots, consumer advocacy, research, and educational organizations whose primary goal is to promote marketing, influence regulations, or advance other industry interests.” (page 25)
US Senator Grassley has investigated the way pharmaceutical money has led to corruption in the mental health industry. Today, 6 April 2009, Sen. Grassley announced he is investigating the amount of psychiatric drug company money going to one of the largest mental health organizations, NAMI, a group largely led by parents of people diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities.
National NAMI for years kept their immense level of money from the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry secret, even from their own members, until US Senate Grassley held an investigation in 2009. He forced NAMI to disclose that more than half of their money is from drug companies. In 2010, Sen. Grassley turned his investigation to the state chapters in NAMI, and how they have received millions of psychiatric drug company money.
From 2003 to 2010, MindFreedom International would do an occasional analysis of the NAMI web site using the Google search engine, to determine the number of times nami.org used the term “biologically based.” While not exact, this is an indication of how much the organization was emphasizing its theory that significant mental and emotional problems and differences were primarily based on genetically-caused biochemical imbalances. [Graph jpg created 11 Oct. 2010 via nces.ed.gov online tool.]
From 2003 to 2012, MindFreedom International would do an occasional analysis of the NAMI web site using the Google search engine, to determine the number of times nami.org used the term “biologically based,” in quote. While not exact, this is an indication of how much the organization is emphasizing its theory that significant mental and emotional problems and differences were primarily based on genetically-caused biochemical imbalances. [Graph jpg created 2012 via htwww.onlinecharttool.com online tool.]