An important adjunct to professional treatment approaches are peer led education and support services. There are a few types of support services available free of charge to people with mental illness and their family members. Some of those are available through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI offers multi session education programs that help people understand what mental illness is, what to expect, how to live in recovery and how to take care of yourself. They also offer support groups for people with mental illness and a separate one for family members and others who care for someone with a mental illness.
It’s important to know that these programs are not led by clinicians. They are not designed or intended to be a replacement for clinical treatment. Each program is led by someone with lived experience – family members or people with mental illness. All programs are peer-led.