When a family member or friend offering daily support and an enlightened treatment provider join with a person living with serious mental illness, the group creates a powerful catalyst for treatment and recovery. Peer-to-Peer enables active partnerships between persons and their providers, and adds an effective resource to providers’ toolkits. The course also helps people to normalize relationships with their close family and friends, widening their support system in a way that creates healthy independence.
NAMI affiliates provide the course and all course materials to participants at no cost.
Trained teacher/facilitators, called Leaders, lead the course. In keeping with fidelity to the NAMI peer education model, Mentors are also persons living with SMI, and who demonstrate the skills and confidence necessary to teach and share lessons from their own recovery journey. To create a sense of ownership, self-worth, and professionalism, NAMI Indiana distributes a stipend to the mentors for facilitating the course when funding is available. The role then adds teaching experiences and skills to mentors’ professional development paths. Feedback indicates that mentors also experience increased levels of confidence to enter or return to jobs, education, volunteerism, and other community settings, facilitating recovery in yet another important way.