In July l983 four statewide Maryland citizens' organizations formed a coalition to advocate for persons with mental illnesses. The groups were the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Maryland; On Our Own of Maryland, a statewide consumer group; the Maryland Association of Psychosocial Services, representing consumers and providers of rehabilitative services; and the Mental Health Association of Maryland. The chief focus of their advocacy is on making a place in the community Ior citizens with long-term mental illness. The coalition's rules are simple: to advocate jointly on issues on which they all agree and to not mention their disagreements in public. With a paid lobbyist, the coalition's advocacy has helped produce significant financial and programmatic gains for Maryland's mentally ill citizens.