NAMI Vermont Provider Education

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The NAMI Provider Education Program is a 15-hour course that presents a penetrating, subjective view of family and consumer experiences with serious mental illness to professionals who work directly with individuals affected by mental illness.

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.

Participants felt that not only had their approach towards families changed, but that their understanding of consumers’ dealing with life dilemmas had expanded as well. Almost every participant described how his or her own clinical practice or approach to working with individuals had changed because of what was learned in class.

How is the NAMI Provider Education Program 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 2 or 3-session 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.

If you are a mental health professional and you are interested in taking Provider Education please call our toll-free number: (800) 639-6480 or email: NAMI-Vermont.