COVID-19 has forced us all to adapt and reimagine how we interact with each other and our advocates. While we don’t know when we’ll return to “normal,” we’re planning for long-term disruption and how that will affect NAMI Smarts for Advocacy.

In the meantime, to offer NAMI Smarts virtually, trained NAMI Smarts teachers and trainers should teach the workshop just as they would lead it in-person, but with a few adaptations for the situation. Below are recommendations for offering NAMI Smarts virtually:

  1. Send the worksheets to participants via email the day before your workshop. People can print out the worksheets or type on their computer—however works best for them to practice telling their story.
  2. Use the screen share feature to display the PowerPoint slides to all participants. If teaching with a partner, confirm who is responsible for changing the slides.
  3. Decide on how you would like participants to interact with your questions: unmute themselves to speak or type in the chat box. Set that expectation and establish ground rules from the start.
  4. Plan how you will divide participants for the practice exercises. Use the breakout rooms feature (if you’re platform has one) or assign partners to start a separate video call. If you choose the latter, make sure to set a time to return to the larger group and follow up with people who do not return on-time. Let people know how this will work in advance. We recommend testing breakouts before the actual time of your NAMI Smarts session.
  5. Focus on modules that are relevant for this situation. For instance, Telling Your Story and our newest module, Budgets: Funding Our Future, are likely more applicable than Meeting Your Policymaker right now.

 
As you plan NAMI Smarts workshops and teacher trainings in the future, please follow public health recommendations around COVID-19. Please contact smarts@nami.org if you have any questions.

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