NAMI-NYC's Helpline: You Are Not Alone  - NAMI-NYC

NAMI-NYC’s Helpline: You Are Not Alone 

Our Helpline Associate Shelby Norris always wanted to help people. With an academic background in psychology and social work, she wanted to get into the mental health field. She had seen firsthand how mental illness could affect a person’s life, and she wanted to do something to help. 

After college, Shelby landed a job at a psychiatric hospital. It was intense work, but she found it incredibly rewarding. She was able to provide direct care to adults with severe mental illness (SMI), and she was there to support them when they needed it the most. 

But after four years of working long shifts and dealing with the unpredictability of the job during the pandemic, Shelby decided to look for a new challenge. That’s when she found NAMI-NYC. 

“Like many of our community members, I discovered NAMI-NYC with a Google search. I took our Peer-to-Peer class and attended some support groups. I found community and acceptance there, and wanted to be a part of the team,” Shelby shared. When she saw the Helpline Associate role, she applied. Now, Shelby staffs the warm line for those who need someone to talk to. Individuals and families often call the Helpline wanting to learn more about NAMI-NYC programs or help their family members, who are unable to seek treatment on their own. 

One day, Shelby received a Helpline call from someone who was struggling to pay for mental health services. They had racked up a hefty bill during a psychiatric hospitalization and didn’t know how they were going to pay for it. Shelby told them about NYC’s public insurance plan, and the next day, the person emailed her to say they had enrolled, and the plan would cover their expenses retroactively. 

Moments like this make Shelby’s work at NAMI-NYC tremendously rewarding. She loves being able to help people and make a difference in their lives. And while she deals with emotional calls from time to time, Shelby knows she’s making a difference. 

In her free time, Shelby loves running and may even tackle the NYC Marathon one day. Prior to her role at the psychiatric hospital, Shelby was a supervisor on a crisis text line, often handling mental health emergencies overnight.  

“If you’re unsure about calling the Helpline, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are peers and family members ourselves. We understand. And we want you to know you’re not alone,” Shelby shared.  

You can reach the NAMI-NYC Helpline at 212-684-3264 or Assistance is available in your language. Learn more at