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NAMI-NYS is the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.

NAMI-NYS provides support to family and friends of individuals with mental illness and persons living with mental illnesses through more than 50 affiliates statewide.


The purpose of the NAMI-New York State shall be to serve as an alliance of local mutual support, advocacy, self-help groups and individual members at-large dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with serious mental illness and to the eventual eradication of the severe effects of mental illnesses.


  • Public Education and Information Activities
  • Peer Education and Support
  • Raising Awareness and Fighting Stigma
  • State and Federal Advocacy

NAMI-NYS' Web Site (www.naminys.org) provides information, referral, and education;

NAMI's Information and Resource Helpline 1-800-950-3228 is staffed by a dedicated team.


NAMI-NYS' Educational Programs provide critical education to help individuals and family members gain knowledge and skills for living successfully with mental illness.

Support Groups are provided through many of NAMI-NYS’ affiliates and offer invaluable connections with peers who understand the challenges and joys of living with mental illness.

To find a support group in your area Affiliate_Support_group_Listing_Jan.2018_rev.2.pdf  


NAMIWalks is a signature NAMI event that draws more than 100,000 participants every year who walk together in over 80 communities across the nation and raise money to fund local NAMI programs.

StigmaBusters responds to inaccurate and hurtful language and portrayals of mental illness in the media and promotes understanding and respect for those who live with mental illness.

In Our Own Voice presents deeply personal and moving journeys of recovery by individuals living with mental illness, reaching more than 30,000 audience participants each year.


NAMI Advocacy provides a key voice for state and federal public and private-sector policies that facilitate research, end discrimination, reduce barriers to successful life in the community and promote timely, comprehensive and effective mental health services and supports.

NAMI Action Centers, include the Child & Adolescent Action Center, the Law and Criminal Justice Action Center, the Multicultural Action Center, and the STAR (Consumer Support and Technical Assistance Resource) Center. NAMI’s Action Centers advocate for unique populations and develop and disseminate information to meet specific needs.


Click here to view the 2012 NAMI-NYS Annual Report.


Wendy Burch - Executive Director  

Matthew Shapiro - Associate Director of Public Affairs

Tina Yun Lee - Community Education and Outreach Manager

Tammie Paradis - Affiliate Development Coordinator

Christine Rickeman - Information, Resource & Helpline Coordinator

Jeanne Ryan - Finance and Office Administrator 

Bill Wallace - Public Affairs Assistant


Evelyne Tropper, PhD, - President

Judith Watt, MSRN - 1st Vice President 

Dhanu Sannesy - 2nd Vice president

Ariel Coffman LMSW - Secretary

Sue Gagne - Treasurer

Irene Turski - Executive Committee

Colleen Casey Johnson

Ann Canastra

Mary Jo Muscolino

 Robert Laitman, MD

Lynda Regan

Jayette Lansbury

Stamatia Pappas

Rina Riba

Ellen Dresdale Ritz, RN

Erin T. Clancy


Download the Policies and Procedures Document

Download the NAMI NYS Bylaws Document


NAMI-NYS Board of Directors

Committee Membership, 2018

Executive Committee: Evelyne Tropper, President, Judith Watt, 1st VP, Dhanu Sannesy, 2ndVP, Sue Gagne, Treasurer, Ariel Coffman, Secretary, Irene Turski, Colleen Casey Johnson

Finance Committee: Sue Gagne, Chair, Lynda Regan, Ariel Coffman

Bylaws/Resolution Committee: Ariel Coffman, Co-Chair, Judy Watt, Co-Chair

Personnel Committee: Robert Laitman, Chair, Stamatia Pappas, Rina Riba

Nomination/Election: Stamatia Pappas, Chair, Rina Riba, Dhanu Sannesy, Jayette Lansbury, Lynda Regan

Audit Committee: Judy Watt, Chair

Strategic Planning: Ariel Coffman, Co-Chair, Lynda Regan, Co-Chair, Sue Gagne, Judy Watt, Jayette Lansbury

Special Committees:

Educational Conference: Irene Turski, Chair, Dhanu Sannesy, Rina Riba, Colleen Johnson, Stamatia Pappas, Lynda Regan

Government Affairs: Irene Turski, Chair, Lynda Regan, Colleen Johnson

Development:

Programs: Dhanu Sannesy, Co-Chair, Ellen Ritz, Co-Chair, Marcy Felter

Criminal Justice: Jayette Lansbury, Chair, Lorenzo Steele, Matthew Rosenblum, Esq, Hon Sol Wactler, Paul Harnish, Police Captain Paul Cook, Sigfrido Benitez, Erin T. Clancy

Multi-Cultural: Sigfrido Benitez, Chair

Research: Lynda Regan, Chair, Irene Turski, Rob Laitman, Donald Goff, Lisa Dixon, Stamatia Pappas

Veterans Affairs: Bill Perun, Chair, Erin T. Clancy

Children and Adolescent: Colleen Casey Johnson, Chair, Judy Watt, Jayette Lansbury, Irene Turski

Health and Wellness: Ellen Ritz, Chair, Michael Weitzman

Consumer Affairs: Bill Perun, Chair, Colleen Casey Johnson

Housing and Reinvestment: Irene Turski, Chair, Ariel Coffman

NAMIWalks: Mary Lou Barry, Chair, Dhanu Sannesy, Co-Chair, Melinda McDuffee, Jason Paden, Mary Beth Honsinger, Dawn Balak, Nicole Bulanchek

Membership and Reaffiliation: Dhanu Sannesy, Co-Chair, Rina Riba, Co-Chair

Managed Care:

Zero Suicide Committee: Sigfrido Benitez, Chair, Rina Riba, Dhanu Sannesy, Erin T. Clancy, Sylvia Lask, Bert Coffman, Jayette Lansbury, Gina Torres, Brett Scudder, Colleen Casey Johnson, Javier Guzman

Volunteer LGBTQ Liaison: Robert “Bert” Coffman. (212) 889-4262, bert_coffman@yahoo.com or bertcoffman1949@gmail.com. In addition to the NAMI assistance offered from local affiliates in New York state, NAMI-NYS also has an outstanding advocate and source of information for LGBTQ issues in Bert Coffman. For more than 25 years, Bert has served the LGBTQ community, initially in the metropolitan New York area, and which has now expanded to many other parts of the state. He serves as an excellent resource for the unique issues facing those in the LGBTQ community living with mental illness and their families.