When two Wisconsin women met for lunch in 1977, mental illness was something to be whispered about. One woman was angry, the other, terrified. Each had a son with schizophrenia. Harriet Shetler was furious at doctors' suggestions that family dynamics had driven her son mad. Bev Young just didn't know what to do next, having removed her son from college. Together the two women decided to harness the forces of fury and fear in order to organize what has come to be known as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). Shelter and Young began NAMI because too often stigma, shame, discrimination, unemployment, homelessness, criminalization, social isolation, poverty and premature death mark the lives of individuals with the most severe mental illnesses. Today, the Alliance is the nation's lading grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to improving the quality of lives of persons with severe mental illnesses and their families. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary year, NAMI has a membership of more than 210,000 people and has local affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Canada. NAMI efforts focus on support, research and education. Members of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill are leading the way to creating full, productive lives for the millions of individuals suffering from the most severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and sever anxiety disorder.