NAMI Provider | NAMI

More than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness and for many, healthcare interactions can be negative or even traumatic. NAMI Provider is our evidence-based, dedicated program to help change that.

This staff development program is for healthcare providers, administrative staff, operational staff and students working directly with people affected by mental illness. It’s an experience that equips participants with a deeper understanding of mental illness and the confidence to serve individuals and families in a collaborative manner.

How It’s Structured

Each of the NAMI Provider program’s three instructors live locally and have direct experience with mental illness. It’s led by an individual living well in recovery, a family member and a mental health professional with lived experience.

NAMI Provider is offered as a 15-hour program spread over five sessions or in a four-hour seminar. The time commitment is intentionally robust to cover a lot of meaningful material.

What You’ll Gain

Past participants have reported improved attitudes, beliefs and behavior in partnering with individuals and families experiencing mental illness, among other benefits:

  • An understanding of lived experience paired with an evidence-based curriculum
  • A deeper knowledge of the recovery and medical models for empathetic, compassionate care for people affected by mental illness
  • Deeper insights into individual and family perspectives

What People Are Saying

“Healthcare providers increasingly need a heightened sensitivity and deeper knowledge to meet the challenges of helping individuals and families dealing with mental health issues.”

– NAMI Provider participant

“When the NAMI Provider teachers share their stories about how mental health crises have touched their lives, and what helped and didn’t help from the medical system, those stories are immensely powerful for our students. Our students know the technical information about diagnosis and treatment, and they want very much to help, but in the moment, in the middle of a crisis, they don’t always know the best response. These stories that they hear stay with them, and will hopefully guide them into more effective ways to connect with and support families in times of deep vulnerability.”

– Lisa Streyffeler, PhD, Chair, Department of Behavioral Medicine, Medical Humanities & Bioethics, DMU

Find A NAMI Provider Program Near You

There are 23 NAMI Provider programs currently available throughout the U.S. Connect with your local NAMI Affiliate to participate in an upcoming program.


Interested in implementing NAMI Provider in your area or organization, but not sure how to get started? Please connect with your local NAMI Affiliate to learn more.


References And Additional Resources

Below are key resources that highlight the need case for NAMI Provider and provide background and context around its efficacy.

  • Mental Health Facts in America. NAMI. (n.d.-b). /NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/NAMI_2020MH_ByTheNumbers_Adults-r.pdf
  • Knaak S, Mantler E, Szeto A. Mental illness-related stigma in healthcare: Barriers to access and care and evidence-based solutions. Healthc Manage Forum. 2017 Mar;30(2):111-116. doi: 10.1177/0840470416679413. Epub 2017 Feb 16. PMID: 28929889; PMCID: PMC5347358.
  • Crapanzano KA, Deweese S, Pham D, Le T, Hammarlund R. The Role of Bias in Clinical Decision-Making of People with Serious Mental Illness and Medical Co-morbidities: a Scoping Review. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2023 Apr;50(2):236-262. doi: 10.1007/s11414-022-09829-w. Epub 2023 Jan 31. PMID: 36720760; PMCID: PMC10016362.
  • Gaffney, T. (2022, March 31). As research grows on primary care and serious mental illness, a glaring gap remains. STAT.
  • Ong HS, Fernandez PA, Lim HK. Family engagement as part of managing patients with mental illness in primary care. Singapore Med J. 2021 May;62(5):213-219. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2021057. PMID: 34409463; PMCID: PMC8801858.
  • Tucker JR, Seidman AJ, Van Liew JR, Streyffeler L, Brister T, Hanson A, Smith S. Effect of Contact-Based Education on Medical Student Barriers to Treating Severe Mental Illness: a Non-randomized, Controlled Trial. Acad Psychiatry. 2020 Oct;44(5):566-571. doi: 10.1007/s40596-020-01290-1. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32728920.
  • Van Liew, J. R., Jie, C., Tucker, J. R., & Streyffeler, L. (n.d.). Reducing stigma and increasing competence working with mental illness: Adaptation of a contact-based program for osteopathic medical students to a virtual, active learning format. Medical education online.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).