Our Mission


To provide support, information, education and advocacy to anyone in Marion or Crawford County affected by mental illness.


About NAMI Marion and Crawford Counties

NAMI Marion and Crawford Counties had its first meeting in 1995. It was started by the late Bernie Schell and her husband Ed, who had just moved from Dayton where they had been very active in NAMI. It was incorporated in 1996.

Bernie, who was a formidable advocate, served as the local NAMI President and helped Ohio to become the largest Family-to-Family class provider. She served on the Ohio and National NAMI boards as well. On July 11, 2016, NAMI Marion and Crawford Counties dedicated a park bench in remembrance of Bernie Schell. Several of her family members attended the ceremony at the ADAMH Board memorial garden, 142 S. Prospect St. in Marion.

We are still a small grassroots organization, looking for more volunteers to help us expand our services. Classes and support groups are now reaching Marion and Crawford Counties. At the present time, we are working toward certification, as are all local groups.

What We've Been Doing

Mental Illness Mural Displayed at College and Community Events

Art has long proven to be an effective means of reducing stress and a safe way to express emotions and mental issues.  With this in mind, NAMI Marion and Crawford Counties has created a “traveling” mural as a medium to engage our communities and raise awareness about mental illness.   

In 2016 NAMI Ohio launched “Bringing Mental Illness Out of the Shadows” to get people talking about mental illness. As part of that campaign, our local affiliate contracted Eliza Ho with ALTernative, a mural art group, to design an 8-foot x 16-foot mural depicting myths and realities about mental illness. She has designed 12 murals in the Greater Columbus area that have been painted by community volunteers using a paint-by-number system, but the NAMI mural is the first that will be taken to various locations for display. It is composed of four 8-foot tall by 4-foot wide panels, each with its own affixed stand, making it portable.

To produce the mural, professional artists outlined the image on the four panels and designated color codes for each area. Then a group of volunteers from Marion, Crawford, and Franklin counties gathered at a Columbus art studio to paint the mural.


The completed mural made its debut at a NAMI Ohio advocacy luncheon in the Ohio Statehouse atrium in March 2017. It has appeared at Bucyrus First Fridays and the OSU Marion/Marion Technical College Health & Wellness Fair.

The mural is available for display at fairs, festivals, and other community events where it can be used as a springboard to public conversations about mental illness. With the artist’s permission, the design may also be reproduced on a smaller scale to be used for local community painting projects. To request that NAMI bring the mural to your event or to schedule a community mental health mural painting day, call (740) 375-0796.

"Myths About Mental Illness"
"Realities About Mental Illness"
  • Mental illness is a character flaw. People are being lazy and should just "snap out of it."
  • Mental health conditions are not real medical illnesses.
  • People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
  • Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak, and many people need help to get better.
  • Just as heart disease and diabetes, mental health conditions are legitimate medical illnesses. Many factors can contribute to mental health issues, including genetics, physical illnesses or injuries, brain chemistry, trauma, abuse, or family history of mental illness. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
  • Most people with mental health conditions are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

Board Members

Alena Fox

Carol Lantz

Mark Light

Paul Tyree

Nicole Brown

About NAMI Ohio

NAMI Ohio was created in 1979 by a small, dedicated group of family members to provide mutual support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental health conditions. Over the years, our membership has expanded to include family members, mental health consumers and providers, community mental health boards, mental health organizations and other supporters. As a grassroots organization advocating for mental health issues, NAMI Ohio has an outstanding history of affecting public policy and legislation regarding care and resources for persons with serious mental illness. NAMI Ohio members testify before the General Assembly, educate business and education leaders, and sit on state planning and advisory committees, Community Mental Health Boards, and various task forces. NAMI Ohio's network of 39 local affiliates plays an active role providing support, education, and advocacy on a local level.