The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NAMI Georgia Training (Peer-to-Peer Education)

As some of you may have read in the previous blog entry I participated in NAMI training this past weekend, and it was great! The training was set in place so consumers can teach a nine-week course for other consumers about mental illnesses and recovery. The course is called "Peer-to-Peer Education". Now I am a Recovery Education Mentor, (Yay!). NAMI provided the hotel for three nights, as well as lunch and dinner (the hotel provided breakfast). The training was Friday through Sunday. The actual training took place at a local Atlanta university, so it was very nice. Overall, it was the people that made the training great.

There were all sorts of people at the training. Some with their own businesses, others with full-time jobs, and degrees in various fields. They were inspiring to me because despite their mental illness they were able to achieve their goals- running marathons, helping others with mental illnesses, being certified peer specialist, and achieving recovery.

We engaged in interesting exercises that led us to understand that we are one body no matter what the differences are. Completing the "Relapse Prevention" exercise was an eye-opener, we labelled our experiences, discussed our feelings and thoughts, and rated them. Another interesting exercise was acknowledging the pros and cons of sharing our diagnosis with other people. That exercise and the advance directive was the most profound assignment we did. Again, an advance directive is a document that lists the consumer's desires, and who would make decisions for them if they are unable to make decisions.

Parallel the Peer-to-Peer training was the Family-to-Family training. I wish I had known about that training so my family could take that course. One of the class participant's family partook in the training and enjoyed it, they said it was in dept.
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Today I went to group and it went very well. We studied post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I learned a lot of new things. For example, everybody who experiences a dramatic situation does not automatically have PTSD, and a person could be diagnosed with it months or even years after the dramatic experience. A dramatic experience may include, but is not limited to the following: war, abuse, rape, accident, etc. Some of the symptoms are: panic attacks, depression, nightmares and night sweats, etc. One important thing to note is that although some other mental illnesses may have similar symptoms that does not mean a person necessarily has PTSD. Treatment may include medication and support groups.

Also, Embracing My Mind (EMM) will start groups at the local mental health center Thursday, September 17th. The group is called Strengthening Each Other. I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing it with you...

If you want to learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).

2 comments:

K.C. Jones said...

Trying not to be bitter with NAMI, but I am a member of NAMI GA and it was not communicated to me that you could go to training without taking the whole Peer 2 Peer class first. In fact, I was told the opposite when I first joined. NAMI is a great organization nationally, but the people who run NAMIGA are horrible at communication and other things, and I considering dropping my membership. I used to go to NAMI Gwinnett meetings every week, but unfortunately, NAMI has become a very negative part of my life in some respects, which is a true shame. (I will not discuss further here...)

K.C. Jones said...

Ridgeview, on the other hand, has the best meetings ever! I used to think that advocacy was my top priority, but then I had to take a step back and I realized that I am still really working on my own recovery and that I cannot surround myself with any sort of negativity, even if it means that I miss out on some things I once deemed important.