The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nationwide grassroots advocacy group, representing people affected by mental illness in the United States. NAMI provides education and advocacy by shaping public policy for those suffering the effects of mental illness and research provide support for people and their families impacted by mental illness. NAMI Colorado is a state affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI Colorado provides advocacy, education, and support to individuals of all ages and to families impacted by serious and persistent mental illness. Founded in 1980, NAMI Colorado developed as a grassroots effort in response to deinstitutionalization. Family members of adults released from institutions lacked knowledge and resources to assist their ill family members appropriately. Community mental health centers had neither the expertise nor the funding to develop necessary family support services. NAMI Colorado worked to fill these gaps and to complement existing services by organizing support groups and providing education on mental health issues to individuals living with mental illness and their families. NAMI Colorado currently has 14 affiliates throughout the state, and offers continual training, volunteering opportunities and support group classes throughout the year. NAMI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization governed by a board of directors elected by the membership.