NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental illnesses.
Today, NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in their community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
NAMI Juneau's local history reflects that of the national organization: a small group came together in 1986 to establish community-based services in Juneau. These founders established the first housing programs for individuals living with mental illness, including a respite house and residential apartments.
As this developed into the primary center of mental health services, now known as JAMHI Health & Wellness, the advocacy, education and support functions of the organization formed its own alliance, the Iris Group. In 1998, the Iris Group officially became known as NAMI Juneau and aligned itself with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In 2001, NAMI Juneau’s leadership established Polaris House, a clubhouse community of people working toward a common goal of recovery from mental illness. Polaris House has been incorporated as a 501c3 since 2008 and continues to play a critical role in Juneau's continuum of mental health care.
Today, NAMI Juneau continues to provide quality education, support, and advocacy to help individuals and families affected by mental illness build better lives. We are a membership of people who are affected by mental illnesses, providers of mental health services, and supportive community members.