A great benefit of being part of NAMI on Campus is that you have access to existing NAMI signature programs that you can bring to your campus community and offer to your peers. Many NAMI on Campus clubs focus on bringing NAMI signature programs to their campuses with great success.
It is highly encouraged that you work with your NAMI State Organization or NAMI Affiliate to bring any of the following NAMI Signature Programs to your campus. Please note that these programs may need to be adapted to appeal to and meet the specific needs of college students. You can work with your NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate to see how best to adapt them. You should also check to see if you can get formally trained in any of these programs by your NAMI State Organization or NAMI Affiliate. This will allow you to run the program yourself, expand your skill set and build your resume.
In Our Own Voice
A public education program in which two trained speakers share their compelling and inspiring personal stories about living with mental health conditions and how they stay healthy. This program has been successfully brought to campuses around the country. If you want to bring this program to your school, you will need a quiet location, a TV to show videos and microphones for the speakers. You will also want to use speakers who are young adults. You may want to see if your club members can get trained to serve as In Our Own Voice speakers. Work with your NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate to see about bringing this program to your campus and getting trained as speakers.
A 10-week education program for individuals living with mental health conditions that is taught by trained mentors. This program has already been adapted specifically for young adults by NAMI Northern Virginia. If you want to bring this program to your campus, you will need a reserved, private space to meet every week for 10 weeks. You may want to see if your club members can get trained to serve as Peer-to-Peer mentors. Work with your NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate to see about bringing this program to your campus and getting trained as mentors.
A casual weekly, peer support group for people living with mental health conditions in which they learn from eachother's experiences, share coping strategies and offer each other encouragement and understanding. The group is led by a trained facilitator. You may wish to see if your club members can get trained to serve as NAMI Connection facilitators. If you want to bring this program to your campus, you will need a reserved, private space to meet every week. The program will also need to be adapted to meet the specific needs of college students living with mental health conditions. Work with your NAMI State Organization or NAMI Affiliate to see about bringing this program to your campus and getting trained as support group facilitators.
NAMI does not currently have a peer support group model specifically for college students. However, as mentioned above, NAMI Connection can easily be adapted and used by you as a peer support group for college students.
Some NAMI on Campus clubs have chosen to develop and implement their own peer support groups on campus. Here are materials NAMI on Campus University of Alabama has created and used for their peer support group on campus. NAMI has not reviewed or approved these materials but are sharing them here for your benefit.
Creating your own peer support group can be extremely difficult and can raise liability and training concerns. NAMI suggests using our existing signature programs listed above before creating new programs or support groups. Regardless, trained facilitators should always be used to run peer support groups.
Sometimes, colleges may not allow peer support groups on campus for various reasons. In this case, you may want to explore only hosting a discussion group that talks about mental health issues broadly and does not claim to offer support. Several NAMI on Campus clubs have done this successfully. It's still recommended though that discussion groups are led by trained facilitators.
NAMI has also compiled a catalog of programs that NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliate have developed. These programs include ones specifically for young adults and college students. If you are interested in a program included in the catalog, reach out to the contact listed to learn more.
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