Press Releases

NAMI Kicks-Off Annual Convention With Special Legislative Briefings

Events Scheduled For Thursday, July 16, 1998

Jul 13 1998

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) are the opening keynote speakers on Thursday, July 16th, at the annual convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the nation’s leading grassroots advocacy organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of those with severe mental illnesses. The recurrent theme for Thursday’s activities is the important role of advocacy in ensuring equitable protections for people with severe mental illnesses.

Tipper Gore, who will be presented the NAMI Family Advocate Award for her contributions to ending discrimination against people with severe mental illnesses, will discuss the importance of public awareness campaigns to ending stigma against people with serious brain disorders. Cokie Roberts will moderate a discussion with members of Congress on recent legislative victories for people with severe mental illnesses and what’s next on the legislative agenda to ensure stronger protections are put in place.

NAMI’s convention is being held from Wednesday, July 15 through Saturday, July 18, 1998. Media interested in covering any session or event must receive credentials in the NAMI Press Room, located in the Bancroft Room on the Terrace Level of the hotel. The Press Room will be opened July 15-18, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHEN: Thursday, July 16
WHERE: Washington Hilton and Towers Hotel; 1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Detailed Agenda for Thursday, July 16

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. International Ballroom

An insider’s view of the current legislative environment for people with severe mental illnesses. Issues to be discussed include managed care and the Patients Bill of Rights, worker incentive issues and health insurance parity legislation. Political commentary and predictions on upcoming elections also will be featured.

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
U.S. Senator Edward M Kennedy (D-MA)
Charles Cook, editor, Cook Political Report and columnist, National Journal

9:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

More than 1,200 NAMI members will travel to Capitol Hill to meet with their federal lawmakers to educate them about the true nature of severe mental illness and its impact on American families. Additionally, NAMI members will urge their lawmakers to increase research funding and improve access to quality medical care.

12:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Georgetown Room

Meeting for Family-to-Family teachers and trainers, introducing the second edition of the curriculum and highlighting important changes.

Jefferson West Room

Training for those who want to start a consumer support group within a local AMI affiliate, and updates for those who already have a group established.

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. International Ballroom West

An opportunity for discussion with members of the Board of Directors relating to proposed bylaws amendments and non-binding resolutions.


1:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Faith Community, Monroe West Room
The Faith Community (formerly known as Religious Outreach) will have its first national meeting since 1995. This is an open forum, an opportunity to share stories about successful models of ministry from all across the country.

Family Education, Map Room
The goal of those involved in this session is to develop strategies for making family education an integral part of the public mental health system.

Growing Your Affiliate Through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Monroe East Room
The VA has recognized a need to improve support systems for mentally ill veterans and their families. By working with the VA to meet this need, local and state NAMI affiliates can both increase their membership and help scores of clients and family members suffering from the pain of mental illness.

Jefferson East Room
Designing and Advocating for Ideal Long-term Care Settings Which Are Effective and User-friendly for Consumers This meeting will explore strategies to overcome barriers to the availability of long-term care and present evidence that many consumers do not agree that independent living is best for everyone.

Consumer Council, Thoroughbred Room
An opportunity to meet, ask questions, and speak with NAMI’s Consumer Council officers and state representatives about consumer issues and consumer programs available for state organizations and local affiliates.

NAMI Treatment Advocacy Center – Exploring A New Initiative, Lincoln West Room
The NAMI Treatment Advocacy Center (NAMI-TAC) is a non-profit legal center whose mission is to ensure timely and humane treatment for persons with serious brain disorders, incorporating current scientific knowledge, thereby decreasing homelessness, jailings, suicide, violence, and other devastating consequences of untreated mental illness. Dr. E. Fuller Torrey will discuss how NAMI-TAC will assist state and local NAMI affiliates to reform laws in accordance with NAMI’s Policy on Involuntary Commitment and Court Ordered Treatment.

Family Connections – Reaching Out to the Next Generation, Lincoln Room East
This workshop aims to increase information for all family members – siblings, children, spouses, parents – as well as the psychiatric community.

Young Families, Hemisphere Room
An informal opportunity for parents of children and adolescents with early onset brain disorders to meet each other and discuss new education programs, referrals, and support groups in their locales and generally network with one another.

Homeless and Missing, Military Room
A nuts-and-bolts session on how to use NAMI’s service to locate missing loved ones.

3:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. International Ballroom

Special Guest: Tipper Gore will receive NAMI’s Family Advocate Award for her dedication to raising public awareness and understanding of brain disorders and her significant contributions to ending discrimination against people with severe mental illnesses.

Moderator: Cokie Roberts, co-anchor, ABC-TV’s “This Week” and ABC-TV News Correspondent, Washington, D.C. This Capitol Hill news veteran will moderate a discussion with federal lawmakers on recent legislative victories for people with severe mental illnesses and what’s next on legislative agenda to ensure stronger safeguards and policies are put in place.

U.S. Representative David Hobson (R-OH)
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
U.S. Representative Lynn Rivers (D-MI)
U.S. Representatives Marge Roukema (R-NJ)
U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN)