Home ] Up ]


UpDonate Online





Join Our Mailing List


Need help? 

In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline





NAMI Connection Facilitator Training Schedule

Contact your local affiliate if you are interested in becoming a facilitator of a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group. 



NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group Program is a peer-based, mutual support group model. The vision is that every person in this country who lives with a mental illness will have, within reasonable driving distance, a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group to attend.

A NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group is an alliance of individuals who have in common the experience of living with mental illness. It provides a place to share our experiences and use them as learning opportunities for ourselves and others. Connection groups are a safe space to confront the challenges that all consumers face, regardless of diagnosis: low self-esteem; social isolation; dual diagnosis; stigma and discrimination; etc.

NAMI Connection Facilitators are individuals living with mental illnesses and are at a point in recovery where they want to “give back” to others. They attend an intense training designed to help them develop the skills they need to facilitate a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group.

NAMI Connection Facilitators:

䀂? Apply to be selected to attend trainings and include a reference in their application

䀂? Receive skill training in the NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group model

䀂? Are volunteer NAMI members

䀂? Co-facilitate weekly 90 minute groups – work in pairs (A minimum of 2 people need to be trained for each support group)

䀂? Commit to a minimum of one year of service

䀂? Commit to fidelity to the NAMI Connection model

Special note: Attending a training does not guarantee becoming certified as a facilitator. Prior to training, each trainee applies and participates in a screening interview.

Sites, meeting days and times should be arranged with your affiliate prior to facilitators going to trainings, if possible. This way, facilitators can begin groups directly after training. Local leaders are instrumental in making these arrangements with the site and the facilitators.

      NAMI Connection is a recovery support group for people living with mental illness that is expanding in communities throughout the country.  These groups provide a place that offers respect, understanding, encouragement and hope.  Each group: 

·        Is co-facilitated by a team of 2 trained facilitators

·        Meets weekly for 90 minutes

·        Is offered free of charge

·        Follows a flexible structure without an education al format

·        Does not recommend or endorse any medications or other medical therapies…

Trainees should be in solid recovery and willing to commit to facilitating and maintaining, for at least one year, a Connection Group in their community.  

All Trainees must be NAMI members!  If they have past leadership or Peer Support experience, that is icing on the cake.  It is recommended that all facilitators have their location, date and time of their groups in place before training.

Facilitator Recruitment

NAMI Illinois relies on Affiliate Presidents and Champions (individual coordinating the Connection program) to prescreen the Trainee(s).  If a person wants to be a Connection Facilitator, they should contact their affiliate president or education coordinator. 

The training is challenging.  It is an intensive three-day weekend of very long days.  All potential trainees will be screened by NAMI Illinois following the pre-screening by the affiliate.  Participants must attend the entire training.

In the course of Connection meetings, it sometimes happens that people express safety concerns.  Please be aware that Connection members may at times indicate that they are a threat to themselves or others.  Connection Facilitators must be well enough to face these indications of stress while maintaining their own recovery and mental health.  Facilitators are trained in how to use the Connection leadership tools to help keep everyone safe. 

Ongoing Facilitator support in the form of free, monthly teleconference support calls, plus cost-free consultation with NAMI prevent Facilitator burn-out and help minimize the stresses of Connection leadership. 

The Training consists of lectures, book work, group discussions and role-playing in front of smaller breakout groups… sometimes Trainees feel like they aren’t “getting it” and even like they won’t “pass” the Training.  The Trainers know this and can provide a certain degree of emotional support.  There are scheduled breaks for meals and snacks and relaxation—for this very reason.    
















Click here for a Connection Facilitator Application