JEFFERSON CITY — Statewide mental health nonprofit NAMI Missouri is offering free trainings for Missourians who want to start a mental health support group in their community.
“A shortage of services paired with an increase in mental health awareness has resulted in a greater need for mental health support services across the state of Missouri,” Gena Terlizzi, executive director of NAMI Missouri, said. “Even for those who have access to treatment, attending a support group can help alleviate the loneliness and confusion that people often feel when trying to manage their own mental health, or the mental health of a loved one.”
A press release from NAMI Missouri states more than 800,000 Missourians experience a mental illness each year, including nearly 200,000 who experience a serious mental illness, and that approximately 1,000 suicides occur in the state each year.
This number has increased every year since 2012, according to the state’s Annual Status Report on Missouri’s Substance Use and Mental Health.
“Support groups bring people together to help one another get through difficult situations, and to find strength in knowing they are not alone,” Terlizzi said. “These trainings will help strengthen and expand the number of support groups to make them available to even more Missourians.”
Two separate support group leader trainings are currently planned for this summer.
The Connection Recovery Support Group Facilitator Training will be held Aug. 9 through 11 in Jefferson City for those who are living with a mental illness or mental health condition.
The Family Support Group Facilitator Training will be held September 7 and 8 in Jefferson City for family members of those living with a mental illness or mental health condition.
By the end of the training, participants will be certified to facilitate a mental health support group in their home communities.
These statewide trainings are open to those who are interested in starting a new support group and to those who would like to become certified to join an existing group as a co-facilitator.
There are currently 16 Connection Recovery Support Groups for people living with mental health conditions and 24 NAMI Family Support Groups for family members that are held on a regular weekly or monthly basis across the state of Missouri.
The trainings are provided at no cost to participants and include mileage reimbursement, hotel expenses and meals.
Expenses are paid through grant and contract funding provided by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Missouri Department of Mental Health, as well as through donations and fundraising activities.
The support group trainings were designed by the National NAMI Organization using evidence-based peer support models.
Additional information and applications are available online at namimissouri.org/support, along with complete listings of NAMI Missouri’s ongoing mental health support groups.