National Alliance on Mental Illness
The Purpose of the Support Group and the Demographics of the Group
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is America’s biggest community mental health organization devoted to improving the lives of millions of Americans impacted by mental illness. It began in 1979 as a small group of families, and today, it is an alliance of over 600 local affiliates working in the community to promote awareness and give assistance and information to people about mental health (NAMI, 2022a).
NAMI aims to enhance the lives of persons with mental illnesses and their loved ones by educating, supporting, advocating, listening, and leading. According to the 2021 NAMI impact report, NAMI assisted 79% more people in 2021 than in 2019 (NAMI, 2021).
In NAMI’s study Mental Health By the Numbers (2022), annual treatment rates for adults in the U.S with mental disease by the demographic group are; Male: 37.4 percent, female: 51.2 percent, and transgender: 54.3 percent. Every year, one in every five adults in the U.S suffer from mental illness, one in every 20 individuals in the U.S suffers from significant mental illness, and one in every six American kids aged 6 to 17 suffers from a mental health issue. 50% of all lifetime mental disease begins by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24 (NAMI, 2022b). In 2021, NAMI assisted an average of 5,550 patients each month, up from 3,543 in 2019.
The Roles of the Support Group Leader in Relation to the Group Members and the Therapeutic Factors in the Group
It is more beneficial for the leader to model group-appropriate behavior than to act as a mentor. Other roles of the support group leader concerning group members include increasing motivation, overcoming resistance, defending limits, keeping a safe therapeutic atmosphere, promoting communication inside the group, and assisting in the cooling down process (NLM, 2022).
Group leaders carefully regulate the degree of emotional intensity in the group, noting that doing too much too quickly can result in profoundly uncomfortable sensations that impede the progress of mental health recovery. When emotionally charged issues are discussed, and members begin to reveal specifics about their experiences, the intensity of emotion may quickly increase to a level that some group members are unable to handle.
Group leaders ensure members of the group learn to interact positively. Leaders should anticipate that persons with a history of substance misuse will have developed a wide range of threatening, humiliating, and other negative behaviors. Because such behavior might make group members uncomfortable, the leader should utilize interventions that make them feel safe. Providing a secure, therapeutic environment for clients and keeping strong limits are two of the group leader’s most critical responsibilities (NLM, 2022).
A well-run group will be many people’s first opportunity to engage with others in a safe, supportive atmosphere. Client motivation is critical to the effectiveness of mental health group therapy. Treatment participation and results have both been demonstrated to improve using motivation-boosting strategies.
Therapeutic Factors Observed in the Group
NAMI supports community organizations and gives a sense of belonging, especially when it is a group that one identifies with. NAMI provides a genuine sense of belonging, including the capacity to be a part of the group as one’s authentic self. The community accepts and values people for their distinct characteristics. NAMI also offers support. Many mental health victims do not have somebody to turn to for complete assistance from NAMI.
NAMI provides someone for patients to call when they need to chat or need support with anything. This can help one get through challenging situations that may seem overwhelming on their own (Burlingame et al., 2018). NAMI offers a sense of purpose whereby community members play many roles.
For example, a person who likes cooking and can always be depended on to bring somebody a meal when they’re in need. These activities might provide individuals with a feeling of purpose by enhancing the lives of others. Having a purpose and assisting others helps to give life meaning.
Observations about the Needs of the Group and my Feelings about this Experience
To provide better integrated and responsive care to patient needs, the organization must include a health equality framework in all planning and service delivery. An interconnected and responsive system must also acknowledge that recovery endorses and connect directly to the social determinants of health are an essential part of the spectrum of care for individuals with mental health issues, that also encompasses needs such as housing, work opportunities, court support, peer interaction, and social protection (Ribeiro Brown et al., 2022).
Other needs of the group include moving primary care management and execution closer to the areas where services are offered. My opinions about this experience and how it personally enriched me are that the continuum of mental health must provide treatment that is more integrated and sensitive to local requirements and responsible for all health system planning and performance.
Setting out the fundamentals for clinically effective change, including the involvement of local healthcare practitioner leaders, will also go a long way toward reinforcing credibility and the assimilation of home and community care, as well as incorporating the local population and health promotion planning with other health services.
Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Yang, C. (2018). Cohesion in group therapy: a meta-analysis. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 55(4), 384–398. https://doi.org/10.1037/pst0000173
NAMI. (2021). Together for mental health through COVID-19 and beyond it. Nami.Org. https://www.nami.org/Extranet/NAMI-State-Organization-and-NAMI-Affiliate-Leaders/NAMI-State-Organization-and-NAMI-Affiliate-Leaders/Financial-and-Risk-Management/2021-NAMI-Impact-Report_11-19-compress
NAMI. (2022a). About NAMI. Nami.Org. https://nami.org/About-NAMI
NAMI. (2022b). Mental health by the numbers. Nami.Org. https://www.nami.org/mhstats
NLM. (2022). 6 group leadership, concepts, and techniques. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64211/
Ribeiro Brown, B. R., Williams, E.-D. G., Abelson, J. M., Chandrakapure, A., & Watkins, D. C. (2022). An exploratory case study of the types of resources Black boys use to support their mental health. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(6), 1082. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061082