Become a Volunteer

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Become a Volunteer 2017-04-17T15:14:14-07:00

Thank you for your interest in becoming a NAMI San Diego Volunteer.  NAMI San Diego is the city’s voice on mental illness.  We are part of the grass-roots, non-profit, national NAMI organization founded in 1979 by family members of people with mental illness. We are also an affiliate of NAMI California.

Our mission:

  • Support people with mental illnesses and their families by helping them find coping mechanisms for their daily struggle with brain disorders.
  • Educate people who have mental illness, their families, and the general public about mental illness with the goal of dispelling ignorance and stigma.
  • Advocate for more research and an improved system of mental health services across the nation.

At the heart of NAMI San Diego is the sharing of information & striving to end the STIGMA associated with mental illness.  To this end we offer a number of programs including Classes, Helpline, Support Groups, Educational Meetings, Lending Library, Newsletters, among other activities at various locations throughout San Diego County.

There are 7 steps to becoming a Volunteer with NAMI San Diego.

Step 1 Fill out and submit and electronic application.
Step 2 Complete a phone or in person interview with staff
Step 3 Complete reference check and/or background if applicable
Step 4 Upon completion of steps 1-3, applicant will be invited to attend a Volunteer Information Session.

Once one is accepted as a Volunteer:

Step  6 Training & Placement
Step 7 Supervision, Support & Appreciation

Volunteer Information Sessions

All potential volunteers and interns are required to attend a two hour Volunteer Information Session offered on a regular basis. This presentation gives an overview of the mission of the agency and the many volunteer opportunities available along with the requirements of each opportunity. 

Upcoming Volunteer Information Sessions

If you are a student seeking hours:

NAMI San Diego has limited opportunities to assist students who need to obtain volunteer hours as coursework requirements, depending on individual program’s educational requirements of student’s supervisors.

All students are responsible for finding out if NAMI San Diego volunteer work qualifies for their individual “direct service” needs. Students that are able to obtain required hours through volunteer work with NAMI San Diego are responsible for attending appropriate trainings, scheduling themselves and tracking their hours.

For those who simply need “direct service” experience and do not have specific supervisory requirements, NAMI San Diego has three volunteer opportunities that may quality as direct service for you:

This program places Volunteers in the lobby of area hospitals that have behavioral health units or psychiatric wings. Volunteers offer support and hope to families that are visiting loved ones. There is a special training required for this. Shifts are available throughout the week, evenings and weekends and are usually 2 hours long. A six month commitment to this program is requested.
This program places volunteers in the Helpline area within our administrative office. Volunteers answer an information and referral phone line in addition to serving as computer real time “chat” agents. Limited shifts are available M-F from 10am to 5pm. A six month commitment to this program is requested.
This program teaches technology and computer skills to individuals living with mental illness. The class consists of 17.5 hours of basic computer skills training during a seven week course. Each class runs 2.5 hours. Daytime and evening classes take place at club houses and community centers, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with occasional Saturdays. Computer and technology skills are required, teaching skills are helpful and languages in addition to English are always useful! A phone interview is required.

How Soon Can I Volunteer?

It depends on what you will be doing with us. It also depends on how quickly you can be interviewed and how quickly your references respond. If you are interested in being a Tech Cafe classroom aid, you will need to have a phone conversation with the coordinator and then work with them to schedule volunteer hours.

For more information, please email Volunteers@namisd.org.