| ||In response to the need for increased attention to schizophrenia-related disorders and the consumer perspective, the National Schizophrenia Foundation (NSF) was incorporated in November 1999 as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) agency. |
All of this emanated from the initiative of Joanne Verbanic who originally intended to create a support group to help herself and others in the Detroit area in 1984. Before long, others sought to begin similar groups around the country. Today, more than 150 Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) support groups meet throughout the US, as well as in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.
Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA), which early on secured the administrative assistance of a statewide nonprofit agency, has received daily contacts for years. While a significant percentage of contacts has related to information specific to SA, an increasing number has dealt with other issues pertaining to schizophrenia (e.g., information about symptoms and treatments, available services, housing options, etc.).
To more effectively respond to these demands, and to garner the necessary national resources, the National Schizophrenia Foundation was formed. The Foundation's two key areas of focus are self-help support groups for persons with schizophrenia-related disorders, and public awareness/anti-stigma activities.
The NSF continues to enhance the infrastructure of the SA network to meet public demand. New group development is ongoing (i.e., training, materials, etc.), with a special project now underway which focuses on incarcerate settings. The 150+ existing groups are receiving ongoing support, and community outreach is taking place to foster group development and attendance.
In the area of public awareness, the NSF sponsors and promotes the annual National Schizophrenia Awareness Day (a.k.a, Pinel Day) activities held on May 24. The NSF is also producing and disseminating educational materials, and is involved in planning, conducting, and/or participating in educational conferences.