History of NAMI Richland County

NAMI evolved from the former "Families in Touch" support group which was meeting at the Center (now Catalyst Life Services) in the late 1990's. Parents, siblings, spouses, and children of mentally ill individuals were meeting monthly for support and to learn how to advocate for their loved ones. Mary Kay Pierce and Darlene Reed started attending this group in the spring of 1998. They soon found out there was a growing need for families and the community to be educated on mental illness. Together they started the Family-to-Family classes in the fall of 1999 to help support and educate the families living with mental illness.

When the need for help and more education continued to grow within the community, they asked the Richland County Mental Health Board (RCMHB) to consider helping start a NAMI local affiliate. On July 16, 2001, with the help of the RCMHB, NAMI Richland County became a 501(C)3 organization and established its own office in Mansfield. Mary Kay Pierce and Darlene Reed are the cofounders of the NAMI local affiliate.