By Editor-in-chief
updated 11/13/2006 2:33:09 PM ET 2006-11-13T19:33:09

The key to recruiting people to a campaign or a cause is inspiring them where they live – in their communities. More and more, those communities are online.

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That truism is underscored by the activities of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the first organizations to run a forum, or “Loop,’’ at the issues-based community

The Loophas become a place for NAMI members and other interested HOTSOUP community members to share their personal stories and thoughts about mental illness; offer support to each other; and provide suggestions on how to take action and get more information.

Through its Loop, NAMI has:

  • Seen new members sign up to NAMI’s national office.
  • Received feedback on grassroots mental health programs around the country.
  • Encouraged sharing between NAMI members, and offered a way for people to support each other.

A member named Mindy joined the Loop, and was quickly inspired to join NAMI. “I wrote my representative today with regards to the parity bill. I’ve been voicing my opinion here and trying to come up with ways to improve things. But I guess I don’t know what it means to be an advocate. What else can I do?” Mindy wrote. was founded on the premise that people like Mindy were increasingly frustrated by the inability of political, business and other institutions to solve problems. The Internet and other new technologies have made it easier for Americans to connect with one another, seeking advice and support they’re not getting anywhere else.

Deb1960, a member of the NAMI Loop, is emblematic. “I believe that the change in societal attitude toward people with mental illness is changing. It is changing with us. It is changing with these bulletin boards. Ten years ago, I didn’t know another person with bipolar illness to talk to other than in hospitals. Now we are attempting to get together as a voice of change.”

Raise your voice of change at

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