About NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County: NAMI Southern California County began in 1982 as an affiliate of NAMI California and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The national organization was founded in 1979, beginning with the grass-roots joining together of families across the nation who were dealing with severely ill family members and with insufficient public services for or understanding of mental illness. Now NAMI is the leading voice in the nation on mental health disorders, an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in communities to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.

New Changes in Our NAMI Organization/Structure

Click HERE to see NAMi SSBCO 2016 Annual report/accomplishments

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Mission Statement

To provide emotional support, educational resources and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental illness and to fight the negative stigma associated with mental illness in our community.

Scope of Services

Our supportive and educational programs and services focus on serious mental health disorders including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), major depression, borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, severe anxiety disorder and co-occurring brain disorders and substance abuse disorders. Emotional support services are offered to individuals and families in peer-led group or individual settings. Educational services are led by either trained peers or expert mental health or allied professionals and are designed to help participants understand mental health disorders, how they impact the individual and family, and how to cope with that impact so that the entire family can find a path to recovery.  

Our Advocacy program focuses on improving mental health services in our county by collaborating with other community stakeholders to positively impact the availability and quality of services. Additionally, we serve as a community resource to help the larger community develop a better understanding of mental health disorders and combat the negative stigma that the larger community sometimes associates with mental health disorders.

Core Beliefs

  • Mental health disorders are neurobiological disorders, which need to be treated and have similar response to treatment as any other physical disorder.

  • People living with mental health disorders have a right to the same level of treatment as people living with other physical diseases.

  • Individuals and their families have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, free from discrimination or stigma.

  • Diverse cultures must be respected and represented.

  • Mental health disorders are “no-fault” – not caused by individuals or families, and cannot be overcome by just “trying harder”.

  • Recovery is possible for affected individuals and their family. That doesn’t usually mean “cure” but rather the ability to regain a life which is worth living including pursuit of social relationships, vocational/educational pursuits, and self-determination.