Last week I finished a course through NAMI called Peer to Peer, basically a 10 week course about recovery for those with mental illness taught by people who have mental illness.
First of all, if you’re not familiar with NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) you should definitely check them out. NAMI hosts support groups and all kinds of educational classes for people with mental illness and their friends and families, as well as playing a part in national fundraising walks and interaction with local lawmakers in an attempt to get better rights for those with mental illness. They are a national organization with chapters all over the country, you can visit their website here to find one near you!
I have done a lot of research and been pretty involved in the mental health community in Seattle so I wasn’t really sure what Peer to Peer would offer me. Would it be full of information I already knew, or would it go beyond the limitations of what I already know as a consumer and a support person?
Initially I concluded that just having a group of people to go meet with once a week would be helpful in its own right (getting me out of the house and socializing) so I signed up.
There were things that I already knew, and some interesting tidbits that piqued my interest (that I’ve already written a little about here). The class covered things from different diagnoses to making sure your health care provider is working for you to hospitalization situations and even what to do if you find yourself in jail.
I can’t say I agreed with every minute detail of the course, but overall I think it was educational, even for someone who knows a lot about how the mental healthcare system works (like me).
The course was free and was a great place to meet like minded people, so I would really recommend it!
Again, for more information check out NAMI’s website to find a branch near you.