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Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

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National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maryland

About the Program

Goals/Mission: To improve the quality of life for individuals and their families coping with mental illness.


  • Use of personal experience to try to improve systems and to provide community outreach and education
  • Effective peer-based, recovery-oriented programming and services
  • Leverage the power and networks of volunteers and community partners to spread NAMI’s message of hope and effective action
Beliefs: Our core principle is that empowering family members and individuals is a critical factor in recovery, a potent force in providing community education and bringing about systematic change.

Population Served

Format: Group

Setting: Community

People served: Core stakeholders: individuals with mental illness, family members and supporters; secondary but key audiences: those who in the course of their job or activities engage with individuals with mental illness and their families.

Program location: Maryland, but there are hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country

Estimated number served: thousands at different levels, expanding statewide network of over 38,000 families, individuals, community-based organizations and providers. (approximately 2,000 per year through peer education or support programs)

People in the Program

Recruitment and selection: We recruit from those who come to us for help and have graduated from our programs.

Training: Peer train the trainer; train the educator/facilitator, etc.

Motivation: Passionate people empowered to use their personal experience to try to change lives, including their own, are trained to effectively use very structured peer models for education and support groups, and to go back to their communities to deliver them. They are often encouraged to become leaders in other NAMI programs, advocacy, outreach, and in governance and organizational work.

Challenges and Solutions

Outreach: Leveraging primary and secondary stakeholders and partners for grassroots marketing.

Free programming, funding and resourcing: NAMI model completely decentralized: funding is up to each “level.” Passion and volunteerism are core to these free programs Keeping independence while partnering: Just keeping it in mind when getting free sites, funding, etc. What is the quid pro quo and how will it affect comfort of stakeholders, our image, our advocacy, etc.

Research: Developing the evidence base: Ongoing partnerships with researchers who are also NAMI stakeholders

Planning for program growth and training and support needs: Always a challenge, have developed tools for projecting needs and planning.

Rare fidelity and quality assurance issues: Basic policies and procedures at national level have been developed and inserted into training materials; state organizations execute Memos of Understanding with affiliates and trainees; fidelity emphasize din all trainings and materials; dedicated trainees who come from the programs are the most likely to maintain fidelity since they have seen the power of the programs as they are.

Contact Us

NAMI Maryland
10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 475
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 410-884-8691
Fax: 410-884-8695
Warm Line: 877-878-2371