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July, 2007

New Recovery Support Group Program Launches

Talk with someone who understands ….. someone just like you

Imagine having a safe and casual place to go each week where you can talk to other people who live with mental illness and share your challenges – people who encourage you, give you ideas, and share strategies to support your own recovery. How would your life be different? How would this opportunity enhance your recovery?NAMI Connection logo

For adults of all mental illness diagnoses living in selected cities across the country, access to a weekly recovery support group just became a reality. For many others, the future looks bright with opportunity.

NAMI has launched such an opportunity with NAMI Connection, a new recovery support group program for people with mental illness.

Offered free of charge and requiring no registration or enrollment, the 90-minute support groups have been forming in explosive fashion since the first facilitator training was held earlier this year.

Facilitator training events are being held in identified cities throughout the year in the 15 “first year” NAMI Connection states, and a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released this August for the selection and expansion of the program by NAMI affiliates in the next 15 states in 2008.

“NAMI’s goal is for anyone with mental illness to have access to a recovery support group any day of the week, no matter where they live, by 2010. Currently, cities and towns in 15 states now, or will soon, offer NAMI Connection support groups,” said Candita Wacker, NAMI Connection Program Manager.

In addition to other NAMI programs for education and support that NAMI affiliates provide, NAMI Connection is meeting a community need and enhancing the emergence of new roles and new leaders into the organization.

“I really appreciate this opportunity. What a great group of people – I feel validated and inspired,” said one Iowa support group facilitator.

An expanding and current list of all groups is available by visiting www.nami.org/connection. Currently, there are close to 60 support groups operational across the country, and an additional 200+ are expected to form before year’s end.

The NAMI Connection initiative is a bold one, an effort that will expand NAMI’s profile and reach at all levels of the organization. Many NAMI state organizations and affiliates are embracing NAMI Connection and gearing up for the program to further ensure that they can meet the needs of people who live in their communities, people who need NAMI.

Dave Almeda, immediate past Executive Director of NAMI South Carolina agrees. “We feel strongly that we have a moral imperative to offer support to people where they can get it. As NAMI South Carolina, we are excited to work with our affiliates in Columbia, Anderson, Greenville, and other communities to make NAMI Connection a service we all provide."

For information about NAMI Connection, visit www.nami.org/connection or call the NAMI National Information HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264).

For information about how to become a NAMI Connection facilitator, how to serve as a “champion” of the program, or to bring NAMI Connection to your community, email connection@nami.org.

Your local NAMI affiliate is a good place to find information about what other programs and services are available in your community, and many NAMI affiliates offer NAMI programs at no charge for participation. To learn more about your local affiliate, call your state’s NAMI office or the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit www.nami.org/local.


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