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NAMI Peer To Peer

What is NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Program?

Peer-to-Peer is a unique, experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery.

  • The course was written by Kathryn Cohan McNulty, a person with a psychiatric disability who is also a former provider and manager in the mental health field and a longtime mutual support group member and facilitator.
  • An advisory board comprised of NAMI consumer members, in consultation with Joyce Burland, Ph.D., author of the successful NAMI Family-to-Family Education program, helped guide the curriculum’s development.
  • Since 2005, NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Recovery Program has been supported by AstraZeneca.

What does the course include?

  • Peer-to-Peer consists of ten two-hour units and is taught by a team of two trained “Mentors” and a volunteer support person who are personally experienced at living well with mental illness.
  • Mentors are trained in an intensive three day training session and are supplied with teaching manuals.
  • Participants come away from the course with a binder of hand-out materials, as well as many other tangible resources: an advance directive; a “relapse prevention plan” to help identify tell-tale feelings, thoughts, behavior, or events that may warn of impending relapse and to organize for intervention; mindfulness exercises to help focus and calm thinking; and survival skills for working with providers and the general public.

Peer to Peer Class Topic List

Week 1 (Orientation)

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • Course Orientation
  • Questions and Answers

Week 2

  • Icebreaker
  • Group ground rules
  • Discussion on course values
  • Mental illnesses as traumatic experiences
  • Consumer stages of recovery
  • Stigma
  • Culture
  • Mindfulness

Week 3

  • “It’s not my Fault”. Mental illnesses as no – blame disorders
  • Brain biology and research
  • The challenges and benefits of medication
  • Relapse prevention
  • Creative visualization
  • Mindfulness

Week 4

  • Storytelling – Sharing of personal experiences
  • Mindfulness

Week 5

  • Information and discussion about:
    • Schizophrenia
    • Depression
    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Schizoaffective Disorder
    • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Relapse prevention continuation
  • Accounts of wisdom and strength
  • Mindfulness

Week 6

  • Information and discussion about:
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Panic Disorder
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Dual Diagnosis
  • Relapse prevention continuation
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • The role of acceptance in recovery
  • Mindfulness

Week 7

  • Understanding emotions
  • Complete relapse prevention
  • Focusing on experiences of joy
  • Spirituality
  • Physical health and mental health
  • Mindfulness

Week 8

  • Suicide and prevention
  • Coming out of isolation
  • Mental illness and disclosure
  • Take-home tool for making difficult choices
  • Surviving a hospital stay
  • Advance Directive for Mental Healthcare Decision Making
  • Mindfulness

Week 9

  • Guest speaker
  • Hot buttons and triggers
  • Working with providers
  • Advance Directive continued
  • Incarceration- survival and preparedness
  • Mindfulness

Week 10

  • Another look at consumer stages of recovery
  • Empowerment
  • Advocacy
  • Opportunities for involvement in NAMI
  • Mindfulness
  • Evaluations
  • Celebration

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