In April 1979, six independent support groups for parents of adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses from around the country joined forces in Madison, Wisconsin, to hold the first conference of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Attendance for this historic meeting was 284. As NAMI has evolved, interest and membership has extended beyond parents to include spouses, siblings, children and friends of people with mental illness as well as a number of mental health care professionals. Most recently, a growing number of mental health care consumers have become active members of NAMI. NAMI currently has more than 200,000 members in 1,200 affiliates across the country.