The National Alliance on Mental Illness Santa Barbara County (NAMI SBCO) has a long history in our community, having been founded in the early 1980’s by a group of family members of persons living with mental health disorders, many of whom were associated with the Mental Wellness Center.
For most of its history, NAMI SBCO has operated as a program under the Mental Wellness Center’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status whereby the Mental Wellness Center provided NAMI SBCO’s business office, meeting space, staff and financial support as needed to implement NAMI SBCO programs. In 2016, NAMI SBCO’s national headquarters began requiring all local affiliates to operate independently so our affiliate secured its own nonprofit status, but continues to operate with the Mental Wellness Center providing the same space, staff, program and financial supports.
Over the years, the relationship between these two important local organizations has been, and continues to be, very synergistic and greatly benefits both agencies and, more importantly, the people of the greater Santa Barbara community. NAMI SBCO receives the logistical and financial benefits of this partnership while the Mental Wellness Center benefits by having many NAMI SBCO members reinforce its strength providing advocacy, volunteers and potential Mental Wellness Center board members and volunteers. The Mental Wellness Center also benefits by having a broader array of family services like NAMI SBCO’s signature Family to Family education program, support groups, and more.
It is important to also note that NAMI SBCO and the Mental Wellness Center continue to engage in joint fundraising activities which benefit both agencies in proportion to their financial needs. Therefore, donations to the Mental Wellness Center benefit both organizations.