Find Help, Find Hope!


President Jerry O'Brien with Family to Family Facilitator Debra Rilea and Peer to Peer Facilitator Lexie Rilea

Past President Jerry O’Brien with Family to Family Facilitator Debra Rilea and Peer to Peer Facilitator Lexie Rilea

The families and members of NAMI Northern Nevada are here to help! We offer understanding to anyone concerned about mental illnesses and the treatment of mental illness.

Mental illnesses are brain disorders that are biologically based medical problems. Untreated, they can cause severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating. This results in substantially diminished capacity for dealing with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age and occur in any family. They are not caused by bad parenting and not evidence of weakness of character.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has become the nation’s voice on mental illness. With organizations and affiliates in every state, NAMI effectively provides advocacy, research, support and education about serious mental illness. Members of NAMI include individuals living with mental illness, family and friends of people with mental illnesses, mental health providers, students, educators, law enforcement, public officials, politicians, members of faith communities and concerned citizens.

In operation since 1989, NAMI Northern Nevada started as a support group. Since then, the NAMI affiliate has grown so that it now is a robust organization and provides many NAMI signature programs and other activities, carrying on NAMI mission imperatives of support, advocacy and education in Washoe County, Nevada. Programs like Peer-to-Peer, Family-to-Family, NAMI Basics and NAMI Homefront educate people with mental illnesses, their families, caregivers and partners with the most current knowledge on mental illnesses. These programs also build the coping and communication skills to strengthen relationships, and supply audiences with the community resources available which may assist recovery. NAMI Northern Nevada now provides the Family-to-Family and NAMI Basics education programs in English and Spanish. In terms of support, NAMI Northern Nevada offers support groups like NAMI Connection for individuals living with mental illness and the Family Support Group for family members of people with mental illness; these groups attend to the everyday issues and traumatic crises through group wisdom and problem solving. In advocacy, NAMI Northern Nevada is represented in local mental health coalitions and treatment centers and in public testimony at NAMI State Legislature meetings, promoting community supports and services for people with mental illnesses and their families. At all times, NAMI Northern Nevada labors to reach out to every sector of society including the Latino, African American, American Indian, LGBTQ and homeless communities, everyone affected by the issues of mental illness.


Advocate at the county, state and national levels for non-discriminatory access to quality healthcare, housing , education and employment for people with mental illness.

  • Educate the public about mental illness.
  • Work to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
  • Advocate for increased funding for research into the causes and treatment of mental illness.


In our envisioned future mental illness will no longer thwart a person’s fulfillment of his or her potential. With early pinpoint diagnoses, interventions and targeted medications and services there is no pervasive disability. Ultimately, we envision a day when prevention or a cure is found.

President Jerry O'Brien and Kathy recieving recognition certificates at the NAMI Nevada Volunteer Luncheon

Past President Jerry O’Brien and Kathy receiving recognition certificates at the NAMI Nevada Volunteer Luncheon

Secretary Donna Shibovich with the official mascot of NAMI Northern Nevada, the "Wazoo!"

Donna Shibovich with the official mascot of NAMI Northern Nevada, the “Wazoo!”

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