NAMI San Diego Friends in the Lobby


Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


Hospitals Throughout San Diego CountySan Diego, CA 92123


Friends in the Lobby offers smiles, compassion, information, and hope to visitors seeing their loved ones in behavioral health or psychiatric units of San Diego area hospitals.

It can be extremely stressful and traumatic to have a loved one in a hospital for a behavioral health emergency. To ease this stress and promote mental wellness, mental health education and support, NAMI San Diego has created an innovative program named Friends in the Lobby (FIL).

Friends in the Lobby’s mission is to provide outreach and engage individuals visiting their loved ones in local hospitals. Trained NAMI San Diego FIL Volunteers have a designated space in the lobby area of hospitals during visitation hours where they provide visitors with information on NAMI and other local mental health resources.

Most FIL Volunteers have lived experience in the mental health system and know just how stressful and traumatic these experiences can be. By offering smiles, compassion, information and hope, visitors are introduced to valuable resources and supports that provide much needed relief in these stressful times.

NAMI San Diego services we promote include the Family-to-Family Education Course, monthly Education and Advocacy meetings, a multitude of support groups located around the county, our free Family and Peer Support Helpline, plus local events and resource. We also include information on other behavioral health support such as the Access and Crisis phone line and various recovery focused programs throughout San Diego.

Through Friends in the Lobby, NAMI San Diego proudly partners with Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, UCSD Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Bayview Behavioral Health Campus, Alvarado Parkway Institute, Palomar Medical Center, Tri-City Hospital, Crestwood Behavioral Health, and the VA Medical Center La Jolla.


  • People Skills
  • Mental Health
  • Bilingual
  • Counseling / Mental Health
  • Psychology
  • Community Outreach

Good Match For


Requirements & Commitment

  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • 3 hours per week for 6 months minimum
  • Have reliable transportation.

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