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The Evolution of the Mental Health Movement

Jun 1, 2020
By Jessica Walthall

As we enter a new decade, it’s important to remember that early NAMI pioneers were up against a society that didn’t understand, let alone talk about, mental illness. People with mental illness and their families were left in the dark, afraid that sharing their experiences could negatively impact their careers, relationships and lives.

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, NAMI advocates had little to work with when it came to spreading awareness. There was no email, no Internet, no social media. But what they did have was a grassroots effort intent on challenging the status quo. Armed with fax machines, phone trees and hand-stuffed packets sent through the mail, these champions began setting the stage for the next 40 years of mental health advocacy.

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