Posted by Al Anile
Program Speaker Ryan Hayes, 
Ryan's subject today was The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI.
We are the local Chicago affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and known as NAMI Chicago. We are one of the largest, most active NAMI affiliates in the country, with fulltime and part-time staff, graduate level interns, and dedicated weekly volunteers. We offer referrals, education, and support through our Helpline, which can be reached at (312) 563-0445 Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm, in addition to our education courses and support groups
for families and individuals. Our services are free.
Our organization was formed in February of 1979 and was originally known as the Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI) of Chicago. In September of 1979, Chicago AMI members participated in the organizational meeting which chartered the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and we became an affiliate. Our services have changed with the needs of the community, and since 1995 NAMI Chicago has concentrated on providing information, referrals, support, education, advocacy, and hope. Learn more on our programs page.
The mission of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago is to provide hope and improve the quality of life for those whose lives are affected by mental illness.
NAMI Chicago maintains many important partnerships in the community. Through our education and programming, we work with mental health providers, providers of support services, schools, community based organizations, faith based organizations, law enforcement, the criminal court system, and many others. With these partnerships as the cornerstone of our work, we maintain a robust and up-to-date referral database.
For more information on NAMI Chicago, please see our programs page or view our annual reports below. To stay up to date with us, sign up for our emails.
We provide classes to individuals living with a mental illness, family members, and professionals. All of our recovery-focused and family education programs are offered free of charge. However, we gladly accept donations to help cover the cost of materials. Check our event calendar or call our office for more information!
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers began in Memphis, Tennessee in the late 1980s after several incidents involving persons with mental illness and the law enforcement community. Numerous entities, including: law enforcement, mental health providers, and mental health advocacy organizations, came together to address the problem and jointly developed the Memphis Model of CIT training. Memphis continues to offer training in this model to law enforcement officers from around the country and this method has been adapted widely around the country.
Since the fall of 2004, NAMI Chicago has worked with the Chicago Police Department to assist in the implementation of the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for Chicago police officers. In addition to providing information on the signs and symptoms of mental illness, NAMI Chicago facilitates a panel of individuals living with mental illness who share their stories with officers, as well as a family panel highlighting the experience of having loved ones living with mental illness.
Our engagement with the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training has continued to evolve and now incorporates advocacy in other areas of the crisis response system. Through our participation on Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force (PAFT) in 2016, NAMI Chicago has become specifically involved with recommendations around de-escalation and working with the crisis response system to better understand individuals experiencing a mental health emergency. Additionally, we have supported training first responders as part of our effort to ensure a comprehensive crisis response system. More information on the needs of the crisis response system is available here. Learn how to access a CIT officer here.
Family to Family (F2F) is a 12-week course taught by two trained volunteer teachers who themselves have a family member with a mental illness. F2F is designed to help family members understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. F2F is offered in English and Spanish.
Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): WRAP is a recovery education program for and taught by individuals living with a mental illness. WRAP has taken over our Pathways in Living class and is the newest program at NAMI Chicago; WRAP does not have a regular schedule.
Honest, Open, Proud (HOP) to erase the stigma of mental illness. HOP is designed to empower and support those living with mental illness to share their stories of recovery. The program assists with decision making, and teaches strategies for safe ways to talk about their lived experience. Authentic and honest conversations can reduce self- and public stigma, and improve overall health.
Community Outreach
Ending the Silence (ETS) is a 50-minute stigma reduction and early intervention presentation that engages high school students in discussion about mental health. Students learn signs and 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. Additionally, a young adult living with mental illness shares their journey of recovery.
Compartiendo Esperanza(Sharing Hope) is a Spanish language 90-minute presentation designed to create awareness in the Latino community about mental illness. Presenters with lived experience share their story and give an overview of mental health conditions, treatment and recovery.
Bridges of Hope is a presentation designed to educate clergy and their congregation about mental illness. The goal is the build understanding, reduce stigma and strengthen safety nets within religious communities.
Professional Development
Training and outreach presentations are available to help reduce stigma, increase awareness, and assist with intervention and recovery. Trainings and presentations are perfect for agencies, community centers, schools, corporate settings and more. Presentations are available in English and Spanish. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll point you in the right direction. There is a nominal fee for professional development presentations. Please fill out our speaker request form and we’ll connect with you shortly.