National Alliance on Mental Illness
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What is a NAMI Connection Support Group Facilitator?
A NAMI Connection facilitator is a trained NAMI leader who leads a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group. They play an important role in ensuring that all participants feel welcomed and supported. NAMI Connection facilitators are uniquely qualified to lead support groups because they are going through their own recovery process. They can empathize with and encourage those who are just beginning the journey to a renewed life. A NAMI Connection facilitator ensures that the group shares responsibility for maintaining guidelines, sustains clear participant boundaries, clarifies goals, and reinforces communication skills that encourage group participation.
How can I become a NAMI Connection Support Group Facilitator?
NAMI Connection facilitators are certified by attending and graduating from a 3-day training event. The training event is designed for facilitators to learn and practice specific skills that will guarantee a meaningful support group experience for all participants. After the training event, certified facilitators know how to encourage the group to make room for all of its voices; short-circuit personal sagas; engage the group in subjects of collective interest; encourage collective thought; and circumvent negative interactions by identifying common ground for real discussion among group participants. NAMI Connection support group facilitators make use of the strategies, structures, and processes they have learned from the training events to ensure the group provides a place that is safe and maintains group guidelines.
Facilitator trainees are required to go through an application and screening process before being approved to attend a training event.
NAMI will send trainers into participating states to train facilitators, instead of facilitators having to travel elsewhere. Additionally, NAMI will hold two national “training of trainers” events each year.
Facilitators will also be supported by four field managers, who will locate facilities for training and implementation; assist with recruitment, training and management of facilitators; develop and disseminate marketing and outreach materials; and collect data.
Read what other facilitators are saying about the NAMI Connection experience.
If you are interested in attending one of these upcoming facilitator trainings, please contact your NAMI state organization for information about training application, screening, and registration.