National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • 14-May-2019 (EST)
  • NAMI HelpLIne
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • Internship/Volunteer

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

The NAMI Information HelpLine is contacted over 50,000 times a year by people across the U.S. who are affected by mental illness and needing help. HelpLine Volunteer/Intern Information and Resource Referral Specialists provide a vital service to the NAMI community by responding with empathy to inquiries by phone, email, written correspondence and social media posts, and by providing information about mental health conditions and treatment options, NAMI education and support programs, and other mental health resources. 

Volunteers and interns extend empathy, understanding, respect and emotional support to everyone contacting the NAMI HelpLine. In return, you'll gain extensive first-hand experience that allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of the issues surrounding mental illness and its impact on individuals with a mental health condition and their families. HelpLine volunteers and interns help individuals and families improve their lives and advance recovery by listening to their concerns and connecting them with essential resources and services. 

Volunteers

Volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of one 4-hour shift per week during regular HelpLine hours (10am - 2pm or 2 - 6pm; Mon-Fri), within NAMI's Arlington, VA office.

Fall & Spring Semester Internships

Fall & Spring semester student interns are required to commit to a minimum of two 4-hour shifts per week for a minimum duration of four months during regular HelpLine hours (10am - 2pm or 2 - 6pm; Mon-Fri) within NAMI's Arlington, VA office. To receive academic credit, students 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.

Summer Internships

Summer student interns are required to commit to a minimum of three 4-hour shifts per week for a minimum duration of three months during regular HelpLine hours (10am - 2pm or 2 - 6pm; Mon-Fri) within NAMI's Arlington, VA office. To receive academic credit, students often seek to work 16-20 hours per week during the summer.  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.

Training

A total of 25 hours of training consisting of 4.5 hours of independent reading, 4.5 hours of in-home, web-based training modules, and 16 hours of in-office training that includes one-on-one guidance is completed over a two-three week period prior to, during and following the assumption of regularly scheduled shifts.  Staff support is available to provide continuous feedback and guidance.

Professional Qualifications:

  • A student or professional of mental health, and/or someone with "lived," personal experience with a mental health condition and recovery - either as a person living with a mental health condition or a 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
  • Preferred experience in a call-center or service-oriented position
  • Analytical ability with problem-solving skills and resourcefulness for assessing callers' 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
  • Minimum basic skills with MS Office (Word, Outlook, Excel) and social media; Intermediate keyboarding skills with minimum typing speed of 45 wpm
  • Ability to conduct basic internet research quickly while simultaneously managing phone conversation
  • 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 others facing mental health challenges
  • 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 who may be in emotional distress or active psychosis 
National Alliance on Mental Illness
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