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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.
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.