“Hope for Recovery” – An Introductory Workshop for Families and People Living with a Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults who experience a mental illness, and their families. NAMI Minnesota offers education, support and advocacy. As well, the organization vigorously promotes the development of community mental health programs and services, improved access to services, increased opportunities for recovery, reduced stigma and discrimination, and increased public understanding of mental illness. They provide over 300 free classes and 64 support groups each year.

The Program

Global Learning Partners, (GLP) Inc. was invited to work with NAMI Minnesota to refresh one of their key workshops, “Hope for Recovery.” This workshop serves as an important “point of entry” for families who have recently experienced a crisis that has prompted them to learn more about living with a mental illness and to seek out resources. The workshop is usually led by volunteer teachers who are family members or a person living with a mental illness.

The Value

Over its history, “Hope for Recovery” had evolved into a six-hour series of video presentations and lectures. Though the workshop proved helpful to families, the NAMI staff and volunteer teachers saw great value in re-designing the workshop to increase engagement and further maximize learning.

GLP worked with NAMI Minnesota program staff to review and prioritize content and then design a series of new processes and tools that invite participants to personalize the learning for their unique situation and to build a useful and manageable list of “next steps” they can take following the workshop. The redesign also involved the updating and streamlining of information and skills taught in the workshop along with a deepened attention to the feelings and attitudes associated with the learning.

Experienced volunteer teachers reviewed a near-final draft of the workshop and noted that the refreshed curriculum was well-organized, succinct, flexible and more individualized for participants. Key sections were tested with positive results and the entire refreshed design was rolled out in September 2014.