The programs and services of NAMI San Francisco are provided by volunteers. We have all been affected by mental illness — as family members, as friends, or as individuals living with severe mental illnesses. It has been estimated that, nationwide, NAMI volunteers donate $135 million worth of their time each year to education, support, and advocacy.
We donate our skills and resources because we realize:
- How much a severe mental illness affects the whole family
- How little information there is to help people cope and find support
- How social stigma and bureaucratic hurdles become additional obstacles; and
- That lack of parity in health insurance coverage presents an unfair financial burden for those with mental illnesses.
Our affiliate depends on the hard work of a core group of volunteers to provide the following basic services:
Phone Help Line: Volunteers answer questions and provide referrals to those who leave messages on NAMI San Francisco’s message based phone line. Each help line volunteer is provided with materials that updated by the help line chairperson.
Ending the Silence: Ending the Silence is a transformational program devoted to giving high school students an opportunity to learn about mental illness through an informative PowerPoint and personal testimony. Through the presentation, students learn symptoms and indicators of mental illness, and are given ideas about how to help themselves, friends, or family members who may be in need of support. Volunteer with this program to provide high school students with mental health education and to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Family-to-Family: Family-to-Family is a free, 12-week course for families and friends of individuals with mental illness. The course is taught by trained NAMI family members. Become a teacher and change the lives of countless families of loved ones with mental illness.
Peer-to-Peer: Peer-to-Peer is a free, 10-week, peer-led, recovery education course open to any person with a mental illness. Peer-to-Peer emphasizes recovery from mental illness as a feasible, supportable goal and challenges the stigma often wrongly associated with mental illness. Become a Peer Mentor to help lead others in their journey to recovery.
In Our Own Voice (IOOV): IOOV is a unique public education presentation that offers insight into the hope and recovery possible for people living with mental illness. Trained individuals living with mental illness lead a brief, yet comprehensive and interactive, presentation about mental illness.
Community Outreach/Advocacy: We are in need of support people to help NAMI SF build and maintain relationships with community agencies and to create a greater community awareness of mental illness and mental health. This may include tabling at community events.
Communications/Newsletter: We supply a quarterly hard copy newsletter that keeps community members and NAMI SF members updated on the work within the agency and within the community. Volunteers are needed to help edit and draft newsletters, as well as for mailings.
Mailing Volunteers: We are in need of volunteers to help draft thank you letters for membership and donations and send out these letters. Materials provided.
Friends in the Lobby: We are in need of volunteers to help us to engage members of our community and provide information about NAMI SF’s programs. ‘Friends in the Lobby’ is a program through which NAMI volunteers offer support and information to visitors seeing their loved ones in behavioral health or psychiatric units of San Francisco area hospitals. Training will be provided.
A special acknowledgement must be given to all the NAMI San Francisco members, supports (financial and otherwise) and friends. We are indebted to them and the continuing efforts of all NAMI San Francisco supporters and volunteers.