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NAMI advocates for all people with mental illness and their families.  NAMI strategically focuses on the most “serious mental illnesses” where the need is greatest.  NAMI's policy is to acknowledge that mental illnesses are illnesses that affect the brain.  Therefore, throughout this document, we are discussing the term "brain disorder(s)" interchangeably with mental illness and serious mental illness.

NAMI advocates for research and services for major illnesses that affect the brain. NAMI requires that all NAMI documents and NAMI co-authored documents use language that puts people first.  For example, "people or persons with serious mental illnesses" instead of "mentally ill people" or "the mentally ill"; and "offenders with serious mental illnesses" instead of "the criminally insane."

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