National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI SUPPORT GROUP PROGRAM
About the NAMI Support Group model
The NAMI Support Group model (formerly called the "Family-to-Family Support Group model") operates differently than other, more traditional "share-and-care" groups. The NAMI Support Group model offers a set of key structures and group processes for facilitators to use in common support group scenarios. These structures come with clear guidelines to follow; used together, they encourage full group participation in support group meetings. The structures of the new model feel comfortable for both seasoned and less-experienced facilitators because they guide the support group along in every situation.
As a facilitator, how do you ensure that a support group starts and stops on time? What do you do if someone monopolizes all of the group’s time? How should you handle disrespectful group members? What should you do if someone brings up a "hot potato" subject such as suicide or involuntary commitment? What about someone who seems to have a problem that’s just not solvable? How do you ensure that quiet members in the group get a chance to participate?
Support group facilitators face these issues in their groups every day. And effective support group facilitators are the key to making any support group experience positive and productive. The NAMI Facilitator Skills Support Group training enables support group facilitators to run useful, helpful support groups. NAMI affiliates know that effective support groups are a key facet of NAMI’s grassroots organization.
The NAMI Support Group model is not just for Family-to-Family Education course graduates, nor is it just for family members. It is a model that can be used by any NAMI support group. Encourage your state organization to begin to implement the NAMI Support Group model by sending two people to the NAMI National Facilitator Skills Workshop in June to become state trainers. Your state trainers will then conduct state and local level workshops to train facilitators in your state in the NAMI Support Group model.