NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Workforce Development program is a free, 10-week course for adults with a mental illness. The course has been certified as evidence-based by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The course follows a structured format in a relaxed and confidential setting.
Individuals do not need a formal diagnosis to take this program.
The Peer-to-Peer course is a national program that is currently offered in over 30 states.
The program is taught by NAMI mentors, who have completed the course, undergone a training program and been certified by NAMI national, and have achieved a significant level of recovery in their own lives.
The program is taught by peers of the class participants, not trained clinicians.
Individuals who take the program can expect to learn about mental illness and mental health.
Participants create an individualized recovery plan that can assist them during the course and into the future.
The program also teaches participants various coping strategies and techniques that can help them on their path to recovery, as well as prevent a relapse from occurring.
Individuals also learn strategies about personal and interpersonal awareness and self-care methods.
Participants also receive a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from their peers.
The program enables individuals to become an active participant in their own treatment plan.
The Peer-to-Peer program also includes a workforce development aspect to it.
This component of the program teaches individuals soft job skills that will help them obtain, retain, or regain employment.
Participants partake in practice job interviews, resume-building sessions, communication workshops, and other activities that allow them to become more valuable and productive members of the local workforce.
The Peer-to-Peer Workforce Development program pilot session, sponsored by Highmark in 2012, has achieved significant positive results.
This session utilized a self-report survey that found that 30% of participants experienced an increase in wage or a promotion at their job.
A further 40% reported that they had retained their current position
NAMI is proud that the Peer-to-Peer Workforce Development program is now funded by United Way of Erie County, who has committed to a three-year funding period.
This will allow NAMI to regularly offer the program each year for the next three years.
NAMI is also very grateful to Gannon University, who generously donate the classroom that the program is held in.