HelpLine Training Manual

By Karen Harris,2014-04-20 23:12
7 views 0
HelpLine Training Manual

     Kyle Sellers


    HelpLine Training


    For Information and Referral


    NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness 3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100

    Arlington, Virginia 22203

    (703) 524-7600

    Toll Free HelpLine: (800)950-NAMI

    (Monday Friday; 10 a.m. 6 p.m.)

     Copyright ? 2011 by National Alliance on Mental Illness All rights reserved.

    NAMI HelpLine Training Manual

     Part I: Introduction to Training

A. Power Point Presentations (A trainer will set you up on the computer)

    1. PP 1: Introduction to NAMI and Mental Illness

    2. PP 2: Introduction to the NAMI HelpLine

    3. PP 3: Introduction to NAMI Programs

B. Study Guides

    1. Study Guide 1: Introduction to NAMI and Mental Illness

    2. Study Guide 2: Introduction to the NAMI HelpLine

    3. Study Guide 3: Introduction to NAMI Programs

    C. Practice Quizzes (Return quizzes to the trainer for scoring)

     Part II: Information Resources

A. Sample HelpLine Packet

    1. Dear Friend Cover Letter / What Can NAMI Do for You?

    2. HelpLine Materials List / Fact Sheets

    3. NAMI brochure

    4. How to Become a NAMI Advocate / How to Become a NAMI Member

    5. List of NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates (not included in manual)

B. HelpLine Articles, Brochures and Fact Sheets (Pink Binder)

C. Information Resources for HelpLine

    1. NAMI Staff Contact List

    2. ―Frequently Transferred Calls‖ Quiz

    3. Outside Referral Organizations List

    4. The Alpha List

    5. NAMI HelpLine Frequently Asked Questions List / Quiz

    6. Various Updates and Reminders about HelpLine Procedures

    7. Allsup: Assistance for Callers Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance

D. NAMI Website

    1. Navigating the NAMI Website Practice Exercises

    2. NAMI Website (

    i. Explore the NAMI website on your own to find lots of information. These are

    areas of NAMI‘s website that you will use often:

    ; NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates

    ; NAMI store

    ; NAMI convention

    ; Online special interest communities

    ; Child and teen support

    ; Register and join

    ; Multicultural Action Center

    ; Special needs estate planning

    ; Consumer support

    ; NAMI Advocate and e-Advocate

E. Supplemental Resource Guide (Separate Binder)



    Familiarize yourself with the contents of this manual. Some items may be incorporated into other

    sections of this training manual and Red Notebooks.

    1. NAMI Resources

    a. NAMI staff contact list

    b. NAMI staff directory

    c. NAMI store catalog

    d. NAMI resource guide form the Child and Adolescent Action Center

    e. Child and Adolescent Contact List

    2. Medications and Prescription Financial Assistance

    a. NAMI Facts: Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications

    b. Medications by generic name, brand name and current uses (chart)

    c. Expanded information and fact sheets on specific medications

    d. Patient prescription drug assistance programs:

    ; By medication and/or pharmaceutical company

    ; Partnership for prescription assistance

    ; RxAssist: Statewide drug assistance programs, federal poverty


    ; RxHope: Assistance program search and application print outs 3. Mental Health Care, Providers and Insurance

    a. Finding a psychiatrist

    1. Mental health professionals: Who they are and how to find one

    2. Q&A about choosing a psychiatrist from the American Psychiatric

    Association (APA):

    3. APA District Branch/State Association Directory

    4. Washingtonian Magazine top doctors in the DC area

    b. Best Hospitals according to U.S. News

    c. Insurance:

    1. National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners

    2. State Social Security Offices (note unusual formatting)

    3. State Health Insurance High Risk Pool: Use for callers who are ineligible

    for Medicaid/Medicare and can‘t afford private insurance

    4. Housing, Vocational and Legal Assistance

    a. Housing and Urban Development‘s Local Office Directory

    b. State Protection and Advocacy Agencies

    c. Standards for Assisted Treatment State by State Summary

    5. Other

    a. Other organizations

    1. Associations Resource Guide

    2. resource links

    3. International Organizations

    b. Videos about mental health and mental illness that have been shown at NAMI


    F. HelpLine Library Books and Briefings

    1. Recommending reading (see the bookshelves for these and other books that can be

    checked out)

    2. HelpLine Briefings

     Part III: HelpLine Procedures and Forms

    A. HelpLine Materials

1) The Contact Sheet

    2) Instructions for Voice Mail Retrieval and Voice Mail Retrieval Tally Form 3) Activity Log

    4) Checklist for Phone Call Quality Assurance

    5) Data Entry for Creating Mailing Labels

    6) Creating Mailing Labels


    7) Legal Contact Form and Legal Log

    8) Email Quality Assurance Feedback Form

    9) Leave Notice Form (if you will be away for your regular HelpLine shifts, please complete

    the Leave Request form)

     Part IV: Communication Skills and Call Handling

    A. Communications Skills Training

    for NAMI HelpLine Information Specialists

    1. Introduction

    2. Basic communication skills

    3. Handling HelpLine calls

    4. Sample calls

    5. Using the phone

    6. Call backs: Returning voice mail messages

    7. Activity log

    8. Answering HelpLine Correspondence

    9. Letter Template

    10. Short URL‘s for NAMI Website

    11. List of Sample Email Templates

     Part V: NAMI Publications

    1. NAMI Editorial Style Guide


Part I: Introduction to Training

    A. Power Point Presentations (A trainer will set you up on the computer)

    6. PP 1: Introduction to NAMI and Mental Illness

    7. PP 2: Introduction to the NAMI HelpLine

    8. PP 3: Introduction to NAMI Programs

B. Study Guides

    9. Study Guide 1: Introduction to NAMI and Mental Illness …… p. 5

    10. Study Guide 2: Introduction to the NAMI HelpLine …… p .8

    11. Study Guide 3: Introduction to NAMI Programs ……p. 10

    C. Practice Quizzes (Return quizzes to the trainer for scoring) …… p. 18


    Introduction to Training:

    Study Guides:

    Study Guide 1: Introduction to NAMI and Mental


Organization‘s name: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Meaning of the NAMI logo: Grassroots

    NAMI was founded in 1979 by a group of about 280 people, primarily family members from local support groups across the country, who met in Madison, Wisconsin.

    These family members, mostly parents of persons with serious mental illness, joined together to fight outdated and ineffective treatment of their family members living with mental illness.

    NAMI is a nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of people with serious mental illness. The goals of NAMI include instituting a more competent, effective mental health treatment and recovery system.

    NAMI was originally named the ―National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.‖ It was later changed to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to promote less stigmatizing ―people first‖ language and to refrain from labeling

    people with an illness.

    NAMI is now the largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by serious mental illness.

    NAMI has a unique relationship with volunteers because NAMI was built through the contributions of time, energy and passion of countless dedicated volunteers

NAMI‘s mission can be carried out only with the help of our tireless volunteers, who are our greatest asset.

    NAMI works for equitable, recovery oriented and person-centered services and treatment for all Americans living with mental illness and their families.

    The NAMI organization comprises the national office here in Arlington (NAMI), NAMI State Organizations (one in each state) and NAMI Affiliates (currently about 1,100 nationwide).

    The ―Four Building Blocks of NAMI‖ are support, education, advocacy and research. NAMI does not conduct medical research, but does promote increased research funding. It also conducts research into the quality and availability of state mental health programs and public attitudes about mental illness.

    For its state organizations and local affiliates, NAMI offers signature programs for family and individual support and education, advocacy tools and support, and the NAMIWalks program, which has helped raise funding for NAMI‘s grassroots.

    About Mental Illness


Mental illnesses are medical illnesses that affect the brain.

    These medical illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or intelligence.

    Schizophrenia is a mental illness that interferes with a person‘s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others.

    People who live with this illness may have difficulty organizing their thinking, performing complex memory tasks and keeping several ideas in mind at once.

People diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience alternating episodes of mania (severe highs),

    depression (severe lows) and mixed states of both highs and lows.

    Over time, bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) may cause irregular changes in a person‘s mood, energy and thinking. These changes may be subtle or dramatic and may vary greatly over the course of a person‘s life as well as among individuals.

    Major depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one‘s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health.

    Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic illness in which a person has unwanted, intrusive and irrational thoughts (obsessions) or impulses that well up in a person's mind, causing the person to repeat certain behaviors (compulsions), such as hand-washing, counting, checking, hoarding or arranging, over and over again.

    A person with panic disorder experiences uncontrollable terror in response to ordinary, non-threatening situations. This response may include a racing heart, chest aches, a cold sweat and the feeling that everything is going out of control. People having panic attacks experience sudden, intense and incapacitating feelings of terror.

NAMI also advocates for these other mental illnesses:

    Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD)

    ; Autism Spectrum Disorders

    ; Borderline personality disorder

    ; Substance abuse disorders

    ; Eating disorders

    ; Posttraumatic stress disorder

    ; Schizoaffective disorder

    ; Suicide; and

    ; Tourette's syndrome

    Terms to Remember

    ―A medical illness affecting the brain‖ - NAMI‘s preferred description of mental illness.

Consumers - A term sometimes used to describe those who are ―consumers of mental health care

    services,‖ i.e., patients. We refrain from using this term, or patients, except within the health care provider community. We refer to individuals as ―people who live with mental illness.‖

    ―The Mentally Ill‖ - A phrase NAMI avoids. People affected by mental illness don‘t want to be labeled or described only by their illness. NAMI encourages the use of ―people first‖ language, such as, ―a person living with schizophrenia; not ―a schizophrenic‖; and ―people living with mental illness;‖ not ―the mentally

    ill.‖ Please remember this on the phones.


Stigma - Defined as ―a mark of shame or discredit.‖ People with mental illness often face negative,

inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness and direct discrimination


    Study Guide #2:

    Introduction to the

    NAMI HelpLine

    Basic Information

The HelpLine: A national information and referral service, accessible via phone, email and U.S. postal


Contact Information

    Phone number: 1 (800) 950-6264; 1 (800) 950-NAMI




    ; To advance NAMI‘s goal of increasing support, education, advocacy and research

    ; Empower each caller

    ; Give compassionate guidance

    ; Provide excellent service

Who Contacts Us:

    ; People living with mental illness

    ; Friends and family members of those living with mental illness

    ; NAMI members, volunteers and leaders

    ; Mental health professionals

What the HelpLine Does:

    ; Offers support through listening attentively with understanding and empathy

    ; Answers general questions about mental illness, medications and other treatments, recovery

    and mental health services

    ; Provides referrals to local NAMI Affiliates, NAMI programs and other resource organizations

    ; Sends printed HelpLine materials about mental illness and treatments (if requested and caller

    does not have Internet access)

What the HelpLine Does NOT Do:

    ; Provide counseling or therapy. We offer empathy, understanding and support.

    ; Provide advice. We only identify options.

    ; Provide individual casework, legal representation or other type of individual advocacy. We

    can offer referrals to organizations that may have these capabilities.

Three Ways to Contact the HelpLine:

    ; Telephone

    ; Email

    ; U.S. Mail

Goal of Each Call:

    ; Provide the most accurate information

    ; Offer the caller hope and encouragement

    ; Give the best service in a timely manner

    ; Send the most targeted materials (as needed)


    Common Calls

    Packet Request - ―My friend or family member has a mental illness. Can you send me information in the mail?‖

Referrals to Local NAMI Affiliates - ―I have a mental illness. Where can I find a support group?‖

Information about Treatment - ―I‘m taking lithium but it‘s not working. What should I do?‖

    Housing Referrals - ―I‘m on disability. I‘m on a limited income and I need to find somewhere to live. Can you help me?‖

    Noncompliance Issues - ―I‘m not sure how to help my friend [or family member] who has a mental illness. He doesn‘t think he has a problem. What should I do?‖

    Terms to Remember

I & R Reps Information and Referral Specialist

    Call Handling Specific responses to certain calls. These recommended responses are followed when answering calls to ensure that the HelpLine provides consistent information and that each caller receives the best service. It is important for each I & R Specialist to learn, or know where to find, NAMI‘s preferred responses to the various questions we receive, such as:

    ; How can I find a doctor?

    ; How can I file a complaint against the hospital I was in?

    ; My son has a mental illness but won‘t go for treatment. What should I do?; and many others.


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email