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Statement by Jacqueline L. Shannon President, Board of Directors The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
After 16 years of exemplary service to people with severe mental illnesses and their families, Laurie Flynn has announced to the NAMI board that she intends to resign as NAMI's executive director, effective December 31, 2000.
With profound regret and appreciation for her significant contributions to our movement, the board has accepted Laurie's desire to focus her considerable talents elsewhere and is establishing a search committee for a new executive director.
When Laurie first arrived as executive director, NAMI was a small group of grassroots advocates scattered throughout the country, virtually unknown on Capitol Hill and policy circles. With fewer than 500 affiliates and a national professional staff of only four, NAMI found in Laurie the skills to grow the organization and effectively articulate the vision of its founders. Anyone who has ever been in an auditorium when Laurie has taken the podium knows the keen intelligence and passion she has given to the nation's voice on mental illness. Today, with more than 210,000 members, 1200 affiliates and a national staff of more than 60 persons, NAMI has fulfilled the wisdom of those who selected Laurie to lead us.
Laurie Flynn helped to inspire and lead the movement that has changed the way America thinks and talks about people with mental illnesses. Under her stewardship, NAMI has been steadfast in pursuing a public policy and program agenda that has improved immeasurably the lives of people with biological brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety disorders.
During Laurie's Tenure:
Laurie's contributions to NAMI and the field of mental health care reform over the years have been truly remarkable. I know that all NAMI members and friends will join me in thanking her for her extraordinary service and wishing her great success in future endeavors.