Peer-to-Peer  NAMI’s Recovery Curriculum

Peer-to-Peer classmates

Special Multicultural and Youth Outreach in the Sacramento Area: Peer-to-Peer in Underserved Communities

NAMI Sacramento is reaching reach out to the consumer communities in our area that are unserved or underserved. In coordination with a generous grant from NAMI California, we wish to reach multicultural communities and youth in the Sacramento area. Come to our Peer-to-Peer program and benefit from the educational and empowering opportunities it offers!


Who is this course for?

Peer-to-Peer is a unique, ten-week experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery.

Who designed the course?

Peer-to-Peer brochureThe course was written by Kathryn Cohan, a person with a psychiatric disability who is also a former provider and manager in the mental health field and a longtime mutual support group member and facilitator. An advisory board comprised of consumer members of NAMI, in consultation with Joyce Burland, Ph.D., author of the successful NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program, helped guide the curriculum’s development.

Who teaches it?

Peer-to-Peer consists of ten two-hour units and is taught by a team of three trained consumer “mentors” who are personally experienced at living well with mental illness. Mentors are trained in weekend-long training sessions, supplied with teaching manuals, and are paid a stipend for each course they teach.

What does it provide?

The Peer-to-Peer course provides an opportunity for consumers to discuss a variety of topics within a supportive group of peers. Participants come away from the course with a binder of hand-out materials, as well as many other tangible resources:

  • an advance directive
  • a “relapse prevention plan” to help identify tell-tale feelings, thoughts, behavior or events that may warn of impending relapse and to organize for intervention
  • mindfulness exercises to help focus and calm thinking
  • survival skills for working with providers and the general public

Course content

Each class contains a combination of lecture and interactive exercise material and closes with Mindfulness Practice (techniques offered to develop and expand awareness). Because each class builds on the one before, attendance each week is required.

See the weekly course topic list below.

To register for Peer-to-Peer training or to become a mentor teacher
email or call (916) 364-1642.


Peer-to-Peer  – Course Content

Week 1/Orientation
Course orientation
Questions and answers

Week 2
Group ground rules
Discussion on course values
Mental illnesses as traumatic experiences
Consumer stages of recovery

Week 3
“It’s not my fault”- mental illnesses as no-blame disorders
Brain biology and research
The challenges and benefits of medication
Relapse prevention
Creative visualization

Week 4
Storytelling- sharing of personal experiences

Week 5
Information and discussion about:
• Schizophrenia
• Depression
• Bipolar Disorder
• Schizoaffective Disorder
• Borderline Personality Disorder
Relapse prevention continued
Accounts of wisdom and strength

Week 6
Information and discussions about:
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
• Panic Disorder
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Dual Diagnosis
Relapse prevention continued
Substance abuse and addiction
The role of acceptance in recovery

Week 7
Understanding emotions
Complete relapse prevention
Focusing on experiences of joy
Physical health and mental health

Week 8
Suicide and prevention
Coming out of isolation
Mental illness and disclosure
Take-home tool for making difficult choices
Surviving a hospital stay
Advance Directive for Mental Healthcare Decision Making

Week 9
Guest speaker
Hot buttons and triggers
Working with providers
Advance Directive continued
Incarceration- survival and preparedness

Week 10
Opportunities for involvement in NAMI