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What is NAMI Provider Education?

The NAMI Provider Education Program is a 5-week course that presents a penetrating, subjective view of family and consumer experiences with serious mental illness to line staff at public agencies who work directly with people experiencing severe and persistent mental illnesses.

The course helps providers realize the hardships that families and consumers face and appreciate the courage and persistence it takes to live with and recover from mental illness.

How is the Provider Education course unique?

The Provider Course emphasizes the involvement of consumers and family members as faculty in provider-staff training. The teaching team consists of five people:

  • Two family members trained as Family-to-Family Education Program teachers;
  • Two consumers who are knowledgeable about their own mental illness, have a supportive relationship with their families, and are dedicated to the process of recovery; and
  • A mental health professional who is also a family member or consumer.

Few teaching programs employ consumers in this kind of sustained training effort in which they are paid to participate on a teaching team as they present a 5-week course.

The course reflects a new knowledge base — the “lived experiences” of people coping with a mental illness or caring for someone who lives with a mental illness. Including this deeply personal perspective creates an appreciable difference in the program’s content. It adds a means of teaching the emotional aspects and practical consequences of these illnesses to the academic medical information in the course.

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