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NAMI HelpLine Information and Resource Referral Specialists - Summer 2022

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Recruiting Organization: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Are you interested inmaking a meaningful difference in people's lives?

The NAMI HelpLine is contacted over 70,000 times a year by people across the U.S. who are affected by mental illness and in need of help. HelpLine Information and Resource Referral Specialists provide a vital service to the NAMI community by responding with empathy to inquiries by phone, SMS/chat, and social media posts, and by providing valuable information about mental health conditions and treatment options, NAMI education and support programs, and other mental health resources.

NAMI HelpLine Specialists help individuals and families improve their lives and advance recovery by listening to their concerns and connecting them with essential resources and services. They extend empathy, understanding, respect and emotional support to everyone contacting the NAMI HelpLine. In return, as interns they will develop a deep understanding of the mental health landscape, mental illnesses, treatment options and recovery strategies. They will also experience the appreciation and gratitude expressed by the individuals, families, and caregivers they serve.

Serving Remotely

Currently, all HelpLine Specialists are working from their homes, apartments or dorms and connecting with help seekers using NAMI’s cloud-based communications platform by computer-based phone, SMS/chat, and email. Interns are required to have access to a computer with the most-recent operating system (Mac, PC or Linux) as well as high-speed internet.


Working with help seekers on the NAMI HelpLine is extremely rewarding, and yet at times, challenging. This requires a commitment to completing a three-week onboarding designed to prepare you to confidently and positively address the diverse needs presented by help seekers. Throughout your onboarding experience, you will complete rewarding online instructional content, interactive exercises, knowledge checks and a final test prior to advancing to eight hours of certification coaching. This coaching involves participating in 4-scheduled, 2-hour sessions, or 2-scheduled, 4-hour sessions of hosting active connections on the NAMI Helpline while being observed and supported by a certification coach. Following your demonstration of the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes of a HelpLine Specialist in this eight-hour period, you will receive your NAMI HelpLine Specialist Certificate and join the NAMI HelpLine Specialist Team!

Minimum Time Commitment Requirements

Please note the following time commitment requirements:

· Summer 2022 student internships* - a minimum of two, 4-hour shifts per week for a minimum duration of four months (May - August), regardless of when the goal of academic credits is achieved.

All HelpLine Specialist shifts are fulfilled during regular HelpLine hours within Shift #1: 10am - 2pm; Shift #2: 2 - 6pm; or Shift #3: 6 - 10pm Mon-Fri, Eastern Standard Time.

*To receive academic credit, student interns often seek to work 16-20 hours per week during the semester. It is recommended that applicants work with their Academic Advisor regarding the option to earn academic credit for a NAMI HelpLine internship. If desired, students may continue to serve in a volunteer capacity on a reduced schedule of 4 hours per week following the successful completion of their internship. Scheduling of shifts is flexible, and NAMI works to accommodate student schedules.

Ongoing Support

The NAMI HelpLine team strives to create a supportive "virtual" community for our interns! Ongoing support is provided throughout each shift via cloud-based technology, and our staff and interns participate daily in two mid-day Zoom meetings to share experiences and information, and to answer questions. In addition, our staff routinely observe and provide coaching support throughout each HelpLine Specialist’s time on HelpLine.

Professional Qualifications:

  • A student or professional of mental health, and/or someone with "lived," personal experience - either as a person living with a mental health condition or as someone caring for a loved one living with a mental health condition.
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written), particularly in listening and ability to convey a respectful, empathetic tone, over the phone, email, or SMS/chat communication.
  • Analytical ability with problem-solving skills and resourcefulness for assessing a help seeker’s needs and finding correct resources in a timely manner.
  • Basic knowledge of mental illnesses, treatments, recovery, and mental health care systems with an interest in learning more.
  • Ability to conduct basic internet research quickly while simultaneously managing a phone conversation or SMS/Chat session.
  • Verbal bilingual English/Spanish ability strongly welcomed.

Personal Qualities:

Demonstrated reliability, professionalism, and punctuality.

Respect and compassion for people affected by mental health conditions with desire to help

Ability to manage emotionally stressful situations with positive spirit and open-mindedness.

Passion to learn about mental health conditions, resources, and behavioral health system.

Willingness to take initiative to seek help when needed, and ability to accept and implement constructive feedback.

Maturity and patience to communicate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences while demonstrating empathy to facilitate respectful dialogue with callers experiencing emotional distress or active psychosis.

Stipend ProvidedFalse

Training ProvidedFalse

Housing AvailableFalse

Language/Cultral Support AvailableFalse

Wheelchair AccessibleFalse

Fee RequiredFalse

Fee Amount: None

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