What is NAMI?
NAMI—National Alliance on Mental Illness—is the largest advocacy organization in the country for those living with mental illness. It began in the 1970’s as a grassroots organization with a small group of mothers who got together to help each other adjust to the challenges of caring for their adult children with mental illnesses. This small group of “NAMI Mommies” grew into a respected national organization with more than 1100 affiliates throughout the country!
Our mission is to provide education, support, and advocacy for our individuals and families affected by mental illness. The vast majority of our work is done by volunteers. This allows those who need help and support from NAMI to get that help without payment. We believe cost should not be a barrier that interferes with access to education and support from others who have “lived” experiences.
NAMI Signature Program Code of Conduct
NAMI signature programs are built around the principles of trust and mutual respect among participants and leaders. Certified program leaders are representatives of NAMI, and NAMI holds these leaders to certain standards of conduct during the provision of NAMI services. This Code of Conduct is covered during leader trainings and is included in all NAMI signature program manuals so that participants also know what to expect from NAMI programs.
What we ask of you as a NAMI signature program participant:
- Attend programs with an open mind and open heart.
- Maintain the confidentiality of all participants by not discussing personal topics outside the program.
- Take from the program the information that you believe is most helpful for you.
- Find an atmosphere of support in the program that enables you to feel comfortable sharing with others, knowing that what you share will be respected and held in confidence by other participants.
What we ask of you as a NAMI signature program leader:
- Provide a safe and respectful environment for program participants.
- Prepare for each class, group meeting or presentation, and conduct yourself, to the best of your ability, with courteous and respectful behavior.
- Actively pursue maintaining your own wellness, and respect your own emotional and physical resources and limitations.
- Understand the difference between peer support and therapy, and be careful not to act in the capacity of a therapist or mental health professional. Offer only the services that you have been trained to provide, and ask for assistance as needed.
- Respect the cultural differences of program participants.
- Respect the privacy of program participants by creating an environment of confidentiality in the program setting and holding in confidence sensitive, private and personal information. As a NAMI program leader, you must also be prepared to break confidentiality when you believe there is a danger of harm to a participant or others.
- Maintain appropriate boundaries by not engaging in romantic, physical or sexual relationships with participants in a NAMI program you are leading. Recognize that it is best practice for participants to attend a class or support group not led by someone with whom they are in a relationship, to avoid potential conflict and the discomfort of other participants.
- Remain accountable for your own behavior, and keep personal opinions and actions separate from those made as a representative of NAMI. Understand that your actions and behaviors reflect on the integrity of NAMI signature programs and impact the public perception of NAMI as an organization.
It is the Policy of NAMI Pinellas County to follow ethical guidelines in all activities of the affiliate. It is the policy of NAMI Pinellas County that its employees and board members uphold the highest standards of ethical, professional behavior.
Employees and board members shall dedicate themselves to carrying out the mission of this organization and shall:
- Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of professional duties.
- Act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance personal and professional honor, integrity and the dignity of the profession.
- Treat with respect and consideration all persons, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, maternity, marital or family status, disability, age or national origin.
- Engage in carrying out NAMI Pinellas County’s mission in a professional manner.
- Collaborate with and support other professionals in carrying out NAMI’s mission.
- Build professional reputations on the merit of services and refrain from competing unfairly with others.
- Recognize that the chief function of NAMI at all times is to serve the best interests of its constituency.
- Accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues and to conduct themselves with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
- Respect the structure and responsibilities of the board of directors, provide them with facts and advice as a basis for their making policy decisions, and uphold and implement policies adopted by the board of directors.
- Keep the community informed about issues affecting it.
- Conduct organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion.
- Exercise whatever discretionary authority they have under the law to carry out the mission of the organization.
- Serve with respect, concern, courtesy, and responsiveness in carrying out the organization’s mission.
- Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fortitude in all activities in order to inspire confidence and trust in such activities.
- Avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of their official duties.