GAMIAN was founded in VENICE, in March 1997 by 12 Advocacy Groups or Associations whose activity was and still is dedicated to helping and sustaining those who suffer from mental illness.
Chapter Members were: Fondazione IDEA, Freedom from Fear, Equilibrium, Club D&A, France Depression, Depression Alliance, Hieronimus, OCD Foundation, National DMDA, Ananke, Obsessive Action, Manic Depressive Fellowship-Wales.
During this meeting a Steering Committee (Carla Stanek Zen, Mary Guardino (Chair), Paolo Lucio Morselli, J.P. Kummer, Rodney Elgie,) was appointed with the aims of defining the by laws and the statute of the organisation. GAMIAN members met again in VIENNA, in September 97, where other Associations or Groups joined the organization.
Following a meeting of the Steering committee in New York (USA) on January 1998 the organisation was registered by Mary Guardino in the State of New-York as GAMIAN Inc. in the same month.
On May 1998 the delegates of 5 European Advocacy Associations, Charter Members of GAMIAN: P.L. Morselli (Fondazione IDEA); Rodney Elgie (Depression Alliance); Dominique Attar-Levi, (France Depression); Carla Stanek Zen (Club D&A); P. Kummer (Equilibrium) who did not share the approach, the philosophy, the purposes and the programs and the management of GAMIAN Inc. withdrew from GAMIAN-Inc., and met in Paris where they founded GAMIAN-Europe.
In July 1998, GAMIAN-Europe was registered in ZUG, Switzerland. MaryLou Selo (Equilibrium) was elected chair of the Steering Committee composed by Carla Stanek Zen, Rodney Elgie, J.P. Kummer and Paolo Lucio Morselli.
On October 1998 a first meeting of GAMIAN-Europe members took place in Paris, in occasion of the ECNP meeting, where GAMIAN-Europe organized a Symposium on “What the patients think”. During this mini-convention other organisations joined GAMIAN-Europe.
In 2000, following the withdrawal of Equilibrium, and a process of registration was initiated in Belgium.
In 2002 the Statutes of GAMIAN-Europe were, finally, approved in Brussels, Belgium, by a Royal Decree of November 14, 2002. The Royal Decree that gives juridical personality to GAMIAN-Europe, has been published in the Moniteur Belge on January 15, 2003. Between 2006 and 2009 the statutes were reviewed and adapted to the new Belgian legislation on International organizations. The actual statutes were published in the Moniteur Belge of 25th November 2010.
Most important change was the redefinition of membership criteria. Full membership is the prerogative of those association that have patients in their governance bodies and assure patient participation in their activities. Other associations and individual persons can become associate member.
From a network that was confined mainly to organisations operating within the field of mood disorders, we have now developed a network that includes all aspects of mental disorders and this permits GAMIAN-Europe to present itself as a true Pan-European Advocacy organisation operating across the whole spectrum of Mental Illnesses.
Since 2010 Gamian is actively involved in the Interest Group on Mental Health, Well Being and Brain diseases of the European Parliament and Gamian produced a lot of statements on recent European developments, making sure that the patient’s voice was heard..
Since 2014 Gamian is actively involved in European Research projects (FP7)
The success of the “GAMIAN-Europe Surveys”; (reports have been published in the prestigious International Journals and presented at the European Parliament at meetings of the Interest Group on Mental Healt, Well Being and Brain Diseases, coupled with the increasing attendance at our annual Conventions underline the impact that GAMIAN-Europe is having on the European scene.
Several of our Officers have been elected to the Boards of other prestigious European Organisations (European Patients Forum, European Brain Council, EFNA, etc.)
Today we unite more than 50 member organisations in most European states, as well as Africa, North America and South America. We also have many Individual members.