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Free training offered for mental health support group startups

Statewide mental health nonprofit NAMI Missouri is offering a free virtual training for Missourians who want to start mental health support groups for their communities.

“There’s no question that the social isolation and stress that come with experiencing a nationwide pandemic are difficult,” said Gena Terlizzi, Executive Director of NAMI Missouri. “For those living with mental illness and their loved ones, these experiences pose additional challenges and can make it even more difficult to maintain a wellness plan and stay healthy.”

A virtual family support group leader training is currently planned for the weekend of Friday, Sept. 18 through Sunday Sept. 20, using Zoom Video Conferencing.

The training is for family members of those living with a mental illness or mental health condition. By the end of the training, successful participants will be certified to facilitate a mental health support group online and in person in their home communities.

“Support groups are an important part of many family wellness plans, and we love to have those in person,” Terlizzi said. “We also understand in-person meetings are not always convenient, and many people are uncomfortable attending because of health concerns. Virtual support groups can offer that same group support and we encourage anyone who is skeptical to give it a try.”

For those concerned about cybersecurity and online privacy, NAMI has included information on their website about the precautions they’re taking to increase privacy protections and safeguard personal information.

More than 800,000 Missourians experience a mental illness each year, including nearly 200,000 who experience a serious mental illness. Approximately 1,000 suicides occur in the state each year. This number has increased every year since 2012, according to the state’s Annual Status Report on Missouri’s Substance Use and Mental Health.

This statewide training is open to those who are interested in starting a new support group and to those who would like to become certified to join an existing group as a co-facilitator.

The training is provided at no cost to participants. Expenses are paid through contract funding provided by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

A Connection Recovery Support Group Facilitator Training for individuals living with mental illness was held earlier this summer.

NAMI support group trainings were designed by the National NAMI Organization using evidence-based support models. Additional information and applications are available online at  or by visiting and clicking on “2020 Family Support Group Facilitator Training” at the top.

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