Educational Opportunities - NAMI - Greater Des Moines
Educational Opportunities - NAMI - Greater Des Moines
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Educational Opportunities

To See When and Where Classes will be held

Click on news & events on the gold task bar  --   Click on scheduled trainings  -- or click here                                                                                 
In addition to the classes and on-line trainings listed below, we have wellness classes at intervals throughout the year such
as Yoga, Art as Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, and a Writing Workshop.  In the future, we may have others as well.

NAMI Family to Family

A FREE12 week class for loved ones of adults with severe mental illness. Attendees must be at least 14 years of age. Curriculum: Brain biology, schizophrenia, major depression, mania and schizoaffective disorder, mood disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis, basics about the brain, problem solving skills, medication review, empathy and understanding, communication skills, self-care, recovery, and advocacy.  NAMI Family to Family is listed on SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidenced Based Programs and Practices. 

For more information - click here            

For an application to attend a class - click here
For an application to become a teacher for the class - click here
Contact:  NAMI GDM Executive Director -  or call 515-277-0672

NAMI Homefront

NAMI Homefront is a free, 6-session educational program for families, caregivers and friends of military service members and vets with mental health conditions. 

NAMI Homefront teaches you how to:

  • Manage crises, solve problems and communicate effectively
  • Learn to care for yourself, including managing your stress
  • Develop the confidence and stamina to support your family member with compassion Identify and access federal, state and local services
  • Stay informed on the latest research and information on mental health, including posttraumatic stress disorder and substance abuse Understand current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects
  • Navigate the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on the entire family 

For more information, click here.

To schedule a class, attend a class, or to become a teacher for the course, please contact the NAMI GDM Director 515-277-0672 or email to

NAMI Basics

NAMI Basics is the new signature education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses. The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years. All instruction materials are FREE to participants.

The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours. Classes may be offered weekly for six consecutive weeks, or may be offered twice per week for three weeks to accommodate the hectic schedules of parents.

For more information, click here           

To sign up for a class or to sign up to become a teacher,  please send an e-mail to the NAMI GDM Executive Director or call 515-277-0672


NAMI Peer to Peer

A FREE 10 week class persons with serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining wellness. Curriculum: Relapse prevention, stigma, symptoms of different psychiatric diagnoses, sleep, addictions, spirituality, medication, coping strategies, mindfulness, decision making, advance directive for mental health care decisions, empowerment and advocacy.

To find out more information, click here 

For more information, to sign up for a class, or to sign up to become a peer to peer mentor, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director or call 515-277-0672

NAMI Ending the Silence - for Teens

NAMI Ending the Silence is a free 50 minute in-school presentation about mental health designed for high school students. Students can learn about mental illness directly from family members and individuals living with mental illness themselves.

2 presenters provide the presentation including a young adult living in recovery.      

Students receive practical information.

The presentation’s message of empathy and hope encourages students to actively care for themselves and for their peers, whether by reaching out for help, encouraging a friend or family member to seek help or by reducing stigma. Contact with a positive role model, in the form of the young adult presenter, can powerfully change their views of a common but stigmatized life experience. The discussion portion gives students a rare opportunity to ask questions and learn personal truths about mental illness.

For more information click here                  
If you want to become a presenter for Ending the Silence or if you want to schedule a presentation, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director by calling 515-277-0672 or email


NAMI "Say It Out Loud" for Teens

Say It Out Loud is a free program available for download.                             

One in five teens lives with a mental health condition and yet more than half are not getting the help they need. Stigma remains a barrier to teens seeking help.

Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing stigma and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health.

Say it Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens. The toolkit includes:

To bring Say it Out Loud! to your community, download the toolkit above or email to request it on a USB drive.

- See more here.

NAMI In Our Own Voice, Speaker Bureau

IOOV application and overview                  

In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique informational outreach program developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that offers insight into the recovery now possible for people with severe mental illness. The goals of IOOV are to meet the need for consumer-run initiatives, to set a standard for quality education about mental illness from those who have been there, to offer genuine work opportunities, to encourage self-confidence and self-esteem in presenters, and to focus on recovery and the message of hope.


It is natural for people living with serious mental illness to speak about their personal journeys to recovery. Thus, IOOV presentations consist of compelling and personal testimonials, a short video, and time for audience questions and discussion. Target audiences include consumers, mental health service providers, families, students, law enforcement personnel, professionals, faith members, and all people wanting to learn about mental illness.

To schedule a presentation or sign up for training to become an IOOV presenter,
please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director at 277-0672 or email to 

WRAP (Wellness Recovery & Action Plan

WRAP is an evidence-based prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be.  WRAP involves listing your personal resources, your wellness tools, and then using those resources to develop Action Plans to use in specific situations which are determined by you.  The workshop is taught by trained people with lived experience with mental illness.  WRAP helps to:

  • Discover your own simple, safe Wellness Tools
  • Develop a list of things to do every day to stay as well as possible
  • Identify upsetting events, early warning signs and signs that things have gotten worse, and develop an action plan for responding
  • Guide you through the process of creating a crisis plan and introduce post-crisis planning

To sign up for a WRAP class, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director or call 850-1467.

NAMI Smarts

NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is a hands-on advocacy training program that helps people living with mental illness, friends and family transform their passion and lived experience into skillful grassroots advocacy.

NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is designed as a series of three 1-2 hour workshops or modules or as a single full-day training that develop the following skills:                                           

  • Telling a compelling story that is inspiring and makes an “ask” in 90 seconds
  • Writing an effective email, making an elevator speech and making an impactful phone call
  • Orchestrating a successful meeting with an elected official 


For more information, click here.

To sign up for a class, contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director at or call 515-850-1467.

NAMI on Campus

NAMI on Campus provides information and resources to support students’ mental health and to empower them to take action on their college campuses. It helps to ensure that all students have positive, successful and fun college experiences.

To find NAMI on Campus club near you, or              
To find out how to start a club, or
To access the Raising Mental Health Awareness on College Campuses toolkit,
Please click here

Hearing Voices That Are Distressing

Hearing Voices is an immersion learning experience which allows participants to have a glimpse into the lived experience of trying to function and perform tasks while hearing voices that are distressing to many people.

The length of the training depends on the size of the class.  Two  hours is the usual minimum time. There is a program for members of the general public and a program for members of the law enforcement community.

Minimum class size is 15 and maximum is 40. Cost? - a donation to NAMI Greater Des Moines. To schedule a presentation of Hearing Voices, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director at or call 515-277-0672

Anderson Cooper (CNN) tried Hearing Voices - see his U-tube video here

Mental Health First Aid

The Mental Health First Aid class is mental illness education for anyone.  The class is 8 hours long, typically taught in two 4 hour segments.  

Cost is approximately $30 per person.  Mental Health First Aid is listed on SAMHSA's Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices.

To find out more, click here

To schedule a class, please contact: Teresa 274-6876 

Crisis Intervention Training

A 40 hour training for law enforcement to better prepare police officers to handle crises
involving people with mental illnesses, including those with co-occurring substance
use disorders.

It helps to increase law enforcement safety, consumer safety and overall community
safety. The training emphasizes understanding of mental illnesses, including substance
use disorders and how it affects a person's life, the development of communication skills,
practical experience and role-playing.  Also officers are exposed to mental health
professionals, consumers and family members both in the classroom and in the field
during site visits.

Law enforcement who have CIT training classes:                                          
The Polk County Sheriff's office                                                                          ​​​​​​​
The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
Des Moines Police Dept.

Click here to go to the CIT Technical Assistance Center

Click here to go to the CIT International website

NAMI Faithnet

Let's Talk.  Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness.

Four lessons which use Scripture, as well as materials from NAMI Faith Net and Pathways to Promise. Leader and student guides are available free at


Click here for more information

NAMI Breaking the Silence

Teacher lesson plans for an educational unit on mental illness/brain disorders. The lesson plans meet national health education standards, meets character education and violence prevention goals. Go to Lesson plans are available for upper elementary, middle school, and high school students. There is a cost involved – approximately $18 per set.

Objectives of high school course

  1. Identify common fears and misconceptions we have about people who have mental illness.
  2. Discuss how stereotypes about mental illness are formed and affect our behavior.
  3. Be informed about the nature of schizophrenia: symptoms, possible causes, psychotic vs. psychopathic and numbers and age group affected
  4. Discuss the role family, friends, community, and government can play in recovery.

Objectives of middle school course

  1.  Identify stigmatizing words associated with mental illness and discuss the negative impact their use has on people who have mental illness.
  2. Be informed about the nature of mental illness: a biologically-based physical illness, a no-fault illness, warning signs of mental illness, and treatable with medication and therapy.
  3. Discuss where to turn for help and support.

Objectives of upper elementary course

  1. Be sensitized to the pain caused by making fun of people who have a mental illness. 
  2. Relate mental illness to other physical illnesses. 
  3. Be informed about the nature of mental illness; a no-fault illness and treatable with medication and sometimes, therapy.
30 Pearls of Wisdom


A one hour provider in-service for medical professionals on the treatment of persons with mental illness. Please contact the NAMI Executive Director 515-277-0672 to schedule a lunch 'n learn at your workplace.

NAMI Provider Education

Participants are personnel at agencies or organizations who work with persons with mental illness.

NAMI Provider Education is a free, 15 hour program of in-service training taught by a team consisting of an adult with mental illness, a family member and a mental health professional. The class is 5 weeks long and can be CEU accredited.

Course components: Orientation, Clinical Bases, 3 Major Mental Illnesses, Types/Subtypes of Mood Disorders/Diagnosis of panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Co-Occurring Brain and Addictive Disorders, interventions which are effective for Family in Stage 1 Crisis, Research into the Biological Basis of Mental Illness, Medication review, Inside Mental Illness, Responding Effectively to Families in Stage 2, Meeting the whole family/problem solving, Why advocacy?/Helping Families in Stage 3.


To find out more about the Provider education class, click here

To arrange for a Provider training class, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director, or phone to 515-277-0672

NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies

A free 2 ½ hour in-service program by a 5 person panel for teachers and other school professionals, school nurses, social workers, medical residents, education majors at colleges, juvenile probation officers, court appointed advocates – CASA volunteers, and many others. 

This program is under revision by the National Office.

NAMI Greater Des Moines needs a volunteer leader and presenters to activate this program.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact the NAMI GDM Executive Director   515-277-0672



Brain Basics

A self-guided education module created by the National Institute of Mental Health that uses images and animation to show how the brain works, how mental illnesses are disorders of the brain, and ongoing research that helps us better understand and treat disorders.  Click here!

PTSD courses

VA’s Employee Education System now offers free continuing education (CE) credit for  PTSD 101 courses, including:

Dementia and PTSD
Introduction to PTSD and Suicide
Military Culture and PTSD

These courses are available online at your convenience. Free to non VA and VA clinicians. Click here

Treating the Invisible Wounds of War, NAMI - Army One Partnership

NAMI has partnered with Army OneSource (AOS), a Secretary of the Army Initiative, to help encourage Family to Family teachers, physicians, social workers, behavioral health providers, first responders, state agencies, state and local associations, national organizations, or other professionals who may see a Veteran or Family member on an unrelated issue, to learn more about military culture and the traumas of war.

Through an online series of courses titled, “Treating the Invisible Wounds of War,” AOS is providing FREE access to education on military culture and Family issues, best practices for identifying, assessing, and treating behavioral health problems and TBI, and the unique issues of women in combat.


The 5 free classes are:

Understanding Military Family Issues

Treating the Invisible Wounds of War 

A Primary Care Approach

Employee Assistance in the Civilian Workforce

Issues of Women Returning from Combat

Taking a Military History:  Four Critical Questions

Recognizing the Signs of mTBI during Routine Eye Examinations, Length: 2 Hours

Instructions: From your browser, go to

Step 1: Click the “Signup” link at the top of the screen

Step 2: Create a personal user account following the instructions *NOTE: Be sure to enter your NAMI member referral code: AOS-NAMI in the space provided.

Step 3: Click the “Log in” link and enter your new ID and password

Step 4: Click the “Courses” link at the top of the screen

Step 5: Select a course you wish to complete

Step 6: Click on “Register”

Once you complete the course, your CEU will be recorded, and you will have access to download and print a certificate of completion


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