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NAMI New Orleans, NAMI St. Tammany Merge to Form NAMI Southeast Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS – The National Alliance on Mental Illness New Orleans (NAMINO) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness St. Tammany (NAMIST) announced they are merging, effective July 1, to form the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southeast Louisiana (NAMI SELA). The unification will combine the strengths and resources of two organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in the region by offering support, education and advocacy for those struggling with mental health challenges across Southeast Louisiana.

NAMINO and NAMIST membership voted in favor of the merger this week, highlighting the importance of adapting and innovating in response to evolving challenges in the mental health landscape. By uniting the voices of these two organizations, NAMI SELA will amplify its message and influence policymakers to prioritize mental health issues, leading to positive changes at local, state and national levels.

“This merger represents a significant step forward in our mission to provide comprehensive support for families, friends and individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness,” said Nick Richard, executive director of NAMI SELA. “Together, we can present a united front to better serve the nine-parish region, take on new challenges that are impacting a more diverse audience, and provide long-term support for those struggling with mental health issues across the region.”

The decision to merge received the support of both organizations’ leadership, staff and regional stakeholders following an extensive and thorough operational analysis and engagement from the respective boards of directors and members that reflected a shared vision of increased efficiency and community outreach. This unification aims to leverage collective resources to enhance operations, strengthen advocacy efforts, and expand the scope and impact of services to Southeast Louisiana.

“The creation of NAMI SELA allows our state to build on our strengths and work together towards a common goal,” said LaShonda Williams, executive director of NAMI Louisiana. “This merger will enable Southeast Louisiana to offer a wider range of services and advocacy efforts, ensuring that we meet the diverse needs of our community more effectively.”

“Over the years, the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) has been a long-standing advocate and supporter for both NAMINO and NAMIST,” said Kellie Chavez Greene, vice president for programs for the GNOF. “This strategic consolidation is a bold and exciting opportunity that requires the expertise and navigation of complex processes of both organizations’ leadership and staff. The GNOF is delighted to extend our support for this merger by providing the necessary funding and technical resources needed to help get their projects unified and across the finish line.”

NAMI SELA will oversee nine parishes in Southeast Louisiana – Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington – and will integrate the leadership, staff, programming, services and facilities of both organizations.

“NAMINO and NAMIST are long-standing partners with a shared mission and common goals,” said Ashley Castro, chair of NAMINO Board of Directors. “Both organizations have established teams and dedicated staff with deep program knowledge and expertise. By combining these resources, we can streamline processes and ensure more efficient use of our funds and efforts, ultimately serving the community more effectively.”

In recent years, NAMINO and NAMIST have addressed internal and external challenges by sharing resources, funding and volunteers, as well as allocating program development and administrative support by utilizing existing talent and staff.

“We have been able to evaluate our internal systems, as well as leadership and staff roles, proactively and strategically throughout this process,” said Nick Richard, “And because our organizations have a history of collaborating and working together, all existing operations, programs and day-to-day service support roles will continue constructively without disruption as we transition and move forward as one organization.”

Both organizations are committed to maintaining their dedication to improving the quality of life for people with mental illness and their families. NAMI SELA represents a significant step forward for Southeast Louisiana, creating a more comprehensive network of services and cohesive system of support to ensure the organization’s vital mission and future goals for generations to come.

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