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Local mental health nonprofits NAMI SLO and Andrew Holland Foundation merge

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The Andrew Holland Foundation was formed after the 2017 death of Holland, an Atascadero man who suffered from schizophrenia. Holland died in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail after spending 46 hours strapped to a restraint chair.

Two local nonprofits that focus on mental health in SLO County announced this week they have merged into one organization.

The San Luis Obispo County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI SLO) and the Andrew Holland Foundation are now one entity which will continue under the NAMI SLO name.

The Andrew Holland Foundation was formed after the 2017 death of Holland, an Atascadero man who suffered from schizophrenia.

Holland died in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail after spending 46 hours strapped to a restraint chair.

The new, merged NAMI SLO will continue to sponsor crisis intervention training with the SLO County Sheriff’s Office, which was a mainstay of the Andrew Holland Foundation’s work.

There will also be an Andrew Holland Advocacy Committee which will “draw attention to gaps in service within our county,” according to a press release.

Aurora William is the incoming president of NAMI SLO.

“I think we will be able to take what NAMI has historically done which is education and support, marry it together with the advocacy passion that the Andrew Holland Foundation has been working with, and we can create a tighter, more focused group of people. And we can come together and really create better support in the community,” William said.

William said she feels the merger will help NAMI SLO better serve SLO County residents suffering from mental illness.

“We need to recognize what’s going on, we need to advocate for more services in the community, we need to advocate for them being treated like people. I think we need to advocate for better humanity for people who have mental illness,” William said.

NAMI SLO regularly holds family support group meetings and classes. Their website is namislo.org.

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