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.

“It gives me a purpose. People appreciate having you there for them.”


“At first NAMI saved my life and I wanted to give back. Now it’s a lifelong habit.”


“I want to pay it forward!”

NAMI San Diego Change Agent

“I want to give support to those who feel scared, lost, and as if they do not ‘fit in’.”


“It is a wonderful organization where I can make a difference and end stigma.”

NAMI San Diego Change Agent

“I want to provide support and comfort for those experiencing mental illness (including family, friends, and the community.”

NAMI San Diego Change Agent , Your Content Goes Here

Application Process:

  • 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 accepted as a Volunteer:

  • Step 5: Training & Placement

  • Step 6: Supervision, Support & Appreciation

Become a Volunteer (Click here to apply)

Volunteer Opportunities:

What is Friends in the Lobby (FIL)?

Friends in the Lobby (FIL) volunteers are a diverse group of caring and passionate individuals. They understand the stress and anxiety that hospitals cause and strive to be a point of contact and support for individuals with lived experience and their families during this critical time. Volunteers will be placed in one of 10 behavioral health units and provide resources.

NAMI San Diego proudly partners with Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, UCSD Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Bayview Behavioral Health Campus, Alvarado Parkway Institute, Palomar Medical Center, Tri-City Hospital, Crestwood Behavioral Health, and the VA Medical Center La Jolla and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Time Commitment

2 Hours a Week


  • Experience working with people in need of support in a local behavioral health unit!
  • Learn about Behavioral Health and the many resources available in San Diego County!
  • Improve your own skill set through active listening, public speaking, and effective communication!
  • Utilize your passion and experience in a meaningful and impactful way!

What is the Peer and Family Support Helpline (HL)?

Peer and Family Support Helpline (HL) volunteers are placed in the Helpline area within our administrative office. Volunteers manage incoming calls, email inquiries and monitor online chat sessions. It is NOT a crisis line. Volunteers help with a wide variety of questions associated with the behavioral health system. This makes the Helpline the perfect opportunity for someone who wants to learn as much as possible about the local behavioral health system and how it works while also being a supportive assistant to those in need!

Time Commitment

3 Hours a Week / Operating Hours are M-F, 9am-5pm


  • Experience working within a local non-profit and call center!
  • Learn about Behavioral Health and the many resources available to San Diego County!
  • Improve your own skill set through active listening, research, effective communication, and reporting as you solve individual concerns!
  • Utilize your passion and experience in a meaningful and impactful way!

What is the Noble Works (NW) business mentorship program?

Noble Works (NW) business mentors will offer support and guidance, encourage growth and accountability, and share knowledge to assist an adult in recovery from a mental health challenge as they enter or re-enter the workforce.

*Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and have 3-years of working experience

*Volunteers must be able to pass a background check

Time Commitment

4 hours per month working with Mentee


  • Experience helping someone meet their goals and succeed in a career!
  • Learn about Behavioral Health and the many resources available to San Diego County!
  • Improve your own skill set through active listening, effective communication, and translating your experience into successful mentorship!
  • Utilize your passion and experience in a meaningful and impactful way!

What is Ending the Silence (ETS)?

Ending the Silence (ETS) is a 50-minute mental health awareness program for high school age youth. Teens learn how to recognize the early warning signs of mental illness and what to do if they or someone they know is exhibiting these signs. NAMI Ending the Silence instills a message of hope and recovery and encourages teens to reduce stigma and end the silence surrounding mental illness.

Presented in health, science or psychology classes, youth groups, clubs, and after-school programs, Ending the Silence (ETS) includes presenter stories, educational slides, videos, and discussion. You will provide teens with resources and tools to help themselves, friends or family members who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.

*The program is delivered by a trained two-person team: A PowerPoint Presenter and a Young Adult Speaker (ages 18-30) sharing their own journey.

Time Commitment

It varies, but an active volunteer often gives 1 presentation a month


  • Experience presenting on mental health and suicide prevention in a school setting!
  • Learn about Behavioral Health and the many resources available to San Diego County!
  • Improve your own skill set through effective communication and public speaking!
  • Utilize your passion and experience in a meaningful and impactful way!

What is NAMIWalks/Runs San Diego County?

NAMIWalks/Runs is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ largest fundraising event of the year… and we need YOU to help make this event a success! All funds raised allows us to provide education, support, and advocacy to those with a mental health condition, their families, friends, and the community at no cost.

Join our team today!

NAMIWalks is Saturday April 25, 2020 at NTC Park in Liberty Station (2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego, CA 921

Set up: Friday, April 24 from 1pm- 5pm

Event day: Saturday, April 25 from 6am – 12pm

All volunteers are requested for the entire event. When your position is eliminated, please rotate to new position. If you need to leave before end of the event, check out volunteer coordinator.

How do you become a Volunteer?

  • Click HERE to complete our volunteer interest application.
  • Once your application is received and processed you will be contacted about next steps.

Positions include registration, set-up/take down, directional, route control, cheering, and more! Please be flexible as positions may change due to needs.

Volunteering with NAMI San Diego is more than just another opportunity. It is becoming a part of the mental health community! Together, we can make OK to talk about Mental Health.

*If you would like to volunteer as a group or have any questions about this event, please get in contact:

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.

How do I attend a Volunteer Information Session (VIS)?

All potential volunteers and interns are required to attend a two hour Volunteer Information Session (VIS) offered on a regular basis. Once accepted as a volunteer, you can register for a VIS. 

Do you offer “direct service” volunteer opportunities?

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 providing Volunteer Management with appropriate paperwork.

For those who simply need “direct service” experience and do not have specific supervisory requirements, NAMI San Diego has Volunteer opportunities that may quality as direct service for you: Helpline, Friends in the Lobby and Outreach. 

Who can I contact with questions?