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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 NAMI-NYS Support Group Listing by County 


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

Sharon Clairmont - Associate Director of Finance & Administration 

Matthew Shapiro - Associate Director of Public Affairs

Shaniqua Jackson - State Programs Coordinator

Tammie Paradis - Affiliate Development Coordinator

Christine Rickeman - Information, Resource & Helpline Coordinator

Bill Wallace - Outreach Coordinator


Judith Watt, MSRN - President

William Perun - 1st Vice President 

Evelyne Tropper, PhD - 2nd Vice President

Ceceile McIntosh Green - Secretary

Sue Gagne - Treasurer

Denise Duncan, LMSW - Past President

Dhanu Sannesy - Executive Committee

Ariel Coffman LMSW - Executive Committee

Robert Laitman, MD

Lynda Regan

Jayette Lansbury

Stamatia Pappas

Rina Riba

Ellen Dresdale Ritz, RN

Marcy Rose, RN

Irene Turski


Download the Policies and Procedures Document

Download the NAMI NYS Bylaws Document


Standing Committees (all members are NAMI-NYS Board members):

Finance Committee: Sue Gagne

Bylaws and Policies and Procedures Committee: Bill Perun

Personnel Committee: Denise Duncan

Nominating and Elections Committee: Evelyne Tropper, Members: Rob Laitman, Rina Riba, Dhanu Sannesy, Stamatia Pappas

Audit Committee: Bill Perun

Strategic Planning Committee: Ariel Coffman

Special Committees:

Education Conference: Ceceile McIntosh Green

Government Affairs: Irene Turski

Development:Open

Programs: Dhanu Sannesy

Criminal Justice: Jayette Lansbury

Multi-Cultural: Ceceile McIntosh Green

Research: Evelyne Tropper

Veterans Affairs: Bill Perun

Children and Adolescents: Open

Health and Wellness: Evelyne Tropper

Consumer Affairs: Bill Perun

Housing and Reinvestment: Irene Turski

NAMIWalks: Mary Lou Barry

Membership and Reaffiliation: Dhanu Sannesy

Managed Care: Ceceile McIntosh Green

Zero Suicide: Sigfrido Benitez

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.