In the late 1980’s, a group of concerned families requested information and education about mental illnesses from a local treatment agency called Wood County Mental Health Center (The Clinic). The agency was caring for individuals who were living with severe mental illness. The families desired education in order to assist their loved ones most appropriately. The Clinic presented a class consisting on medications, treatment options and ways to cope. From the individuals that participated a group of people emerged that founded an affiliate with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Throughout the 1990’s, group members attended state and national conferences, trained to teach the Family to Family education classes, and provided regular family support and education to the community. For 18 years, NAMI Wood County continued to be a presence in the community with members serving on the Wood County ADAMHS Board and other local agency boards.
The need for NAMI was great, but coordinating all the programs was difficult for volunteers with limited time. In April 2007, the Wood County Alcohol Drug Addiction Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board granted funding for fiscal year 2008 and supplied immediate funding so that the group could initiate the establishment of an office and begin hiring a part-time executive director. In June 2007, NAMI Wood County held an open house to increase publicity and spark new interest.
We are now staffed with a full time executive director, part time fiscal agent, and a casual resource coordinator. The organization is also able to host a United Way Americorps member to serve as volunteer coordinator. This individual oversees several volunteers that donate their time weekly. NAMI Wood County is now able to provide a host of services: weekly consumer support meetings, monthly family support meetings, yearly free educational classes, one day seminars offering continuing education units and daily availability of phone contact for information and referral. New services and members are being added as we continue to grow.