Skip to main content

Central California Life Magazine

Cen Cali Heroes: NAMI Volunteers Offer Support for Mental Illness in the Community

Jun 23, 2016 12:51PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

NAMIWalks 2016 Team Photo. Photo courtesy of the NAMI Fresno Facebook Page.

NAMI Fresno is the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They provide education, support and advocacy for all people affected by mental illness.

We were lucky enough to get in touch with Christina A. Roup, Executive Director of NAMI Fresno, and hear from her what NAMI Fresno does for the community. 

What is the NAMI curriculum?

CR: The NAMI curriculum and structure are developed at the national level and delivered to our community with two core components: no cost and from lived experience. Many dedicated volunteers provided support to others in our community by sharing their own journey of how mental illness has affected their lives. 

Through this shared experience, families and loved ones are able to receive support to assist them in their own journey to recovery and wellness.  

How can people get involved?

CR: In order to deliver this valuable information and support to our community at no cost, NAMI Fresno holds a few fundraising events to assist with this mission. 

First, the annual NAMIWalks is the highlight of fundraising efforts and is held in May at Woodward Park. There is also an annual Gala in the fall, which we typically honor someone in our community that has been a pioneer, advocate or change maker for the mental health community. 

Other ways to support NAMI Fresno are through annual membership, direct donations, and various others that can be found on our website,

You can also sign up to be a volunteer

For up to date info on groups and classes, check our website and our Facebook page

History of NAMI

In April 1979, six independent support groups for parents of adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses from around the country joined forces in Madison, Wisconsin, to hold the first conference of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Attendance for this historic meeting was 284. 

As NAMI has evolved, interest and membership has extended beyond parents to include spouses, siblings, children and friends of people with mental illness as well as a number of mental health care professionals. Most recently, a growing number of mental health care consumers have become active members of NAMI. 

NAMI currently has more than 200,000 members in 1,200 affiliates across the country.

Content courtesy of Christina A. Roup, Executive Director of NAMI Fresno and the NAMI Fresno website and Facebook Page