NAMI ‘Peer-to-Peer’ Class
“Mental Illness isn’t a Choice”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Cincinnati chapter sponsors a class series entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer’ designed for individuals with any mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining wellness and recovery. The class consists of ten two-hour weekly sessions and is taught by a trained team of people who have been there. The confidential program includes presentations, discussion and tools to help prevent relapses by recognizing triggers.
“It’s taboo to discuss my mental illness in the community,” says ‘Abbey.’ “Here, I’m safe. Having a group of peers confirms to me that my illness is not my fault.”
The class is offered as needed; the most recent series was held in partnership with GCB at the Madison Rd. location. Approximately 15 people participated; the only requirement for this free class is that the participants have a mental health diagnosis.
“I’ve been coming here for four weeks now,” one participant commented. “And the people in this room know me better than some people who have been in my life for years.”
The class is educational, solution-oriented and meant to help people who are looking to better understand their condition and maintain a state of recovery. The experience provides the opportunity for mutual support and reinforcement from people who share a similar journey.
“I don’t let my diagnosis define me,” says ‘Katie,’ “but society often does.”
“I’ve witnessed a lot of people coming out of their shell,” says Mary Langford, one of the class facilitators. “This is a safe place to talk about an illness that has so many varying degrees.” Mary herself still does not have a clear diagnosis. “There is no blood test for mental illness,” she says.
Sherry Barrett is the second trainer for this particular series (the teams change based on availability when the classes are scheduled). “The community is reaching a tipping point, in terms of awareness of how prevalent mental illness is,” she says. “In some way, we’re all touched by it.”
For more information on NAMI classes, please call: (513)351-3500.