Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

Spring 2018

Position: Public Policy Intern
Student: Psychology Junior

My position at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas Chapter was as a Public Policy Intern. Situated at the Austin Hospital, this internship site is easy to travel to with the 801 bus. As an intern, I think NAMI Texas’s public policy director, Greg Hansch, helped me get a good idea of the current state of Texas mental health policy. Greg has allowed me to attend meetings around Austin as the NAMI Texas representative for Austin-based coalitions and meetings at Health and Human Services and the capitol. For this reason, interns would better excel in this work environment dedicating long shifts in their day in order to be present for the entire meeting held. Interns would also best fit this position if they are flexible with fast changing schedules and having to go around Austin with bus to attend meetings. For this reason, I also recommend interns to dress professionally and conservatively as I was representing a renowned national organization.

Other tasks I’ve had as an intern included administrative work in organizing information needed for the next public policy platform, logging in information for NAMI Texas stakeholders, and helping plan for the annual Empowerment Symposium being held in Corpus Christi this year. I also worked on social media and promoting the event with posting and designing banners.

In non-profit work, usually the co-workers one sees are the individuals doing everything needed from making pay-roll to working in policy workgroups at the capitol. I think that the variety in the roles means that interns have to be adaptable in learning the different tasks a co-worker may need help with. Similarly, it is important to take initiative and ask what one can help with doing. There is always something one can do to help.

Fall 2017

Position: Program Intern
Student: Psychology Sophomore

As a NAMI intern each day is quite different from the next. I personally assisted in the office and with actual programs themselves; both were incomparable experiences. A typical office day consisted of first, walking in to the office and sitting down with my boss. My boss would first always update me on what has happened with NAMI since the last time I was there, and would give me quick summary of the tasks I had for that day. The first tasks were usually simple data entry and updating files. Next, I would continue to work on a long-term project. My projects included marketing and managing a new app that NAMI was helping pilot, helping revamp our office space, organizing material, preparing for programs and other ordain office tasks. Typically, I got to the office anywhere from 2:45 to 3:15; they were very lenient and understood how much traffic changes each day. I would typically finish around 6:30. I worked in the NAMI office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

While the office work is the backbone of NAMI, and extremely important to its operation, the more interesting part of my experience was participating in NAMI programs. I had the honor of participating and assisting in multiple different training sessions. These training sessions consisted of two days of learning the NAMI program that you are training for, and working along side people directly affected by mental illness. I am now certified to be a NAMI family-to-family teacher (a class for family members of those affected by mental illness), a family support group facilitator, a in our own voice speaker (trained to speak about my experience with mental illness), and a peer-to-peer support group facilitator (for people with mental illness). I also help out with a family-to-family class for two hours every Sunday, where I get to learn about mental illnesses and people real life family experiences. Overall, my NAMI internship has offered me both a practical and hands on experience. 

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508