Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

Spring 2021

Position: Communications and Events Intern
Major: Psychology 

NAMI Central Texas is a non-profit organization that provides education through support and advocacy groups with the goal to change the way we address mental health. They have many programs available for those working towards recovery. I found this internship through the Handshake site. I then completed an external application where I had to submit my resume and a cover letter. My responsibilities at NAMI included social media, graphic design, and event promotion. Mind Matters, Stories & Strategies, and Mental Health Month have been some of the programs and events for which I have created and promoted content for. I have also been introduced to very basic html website editing skills to keep our website updated. My first individual project has been the creation and promotion of Mental Health Month this May. I have taken on the responsibility of creating the social media promotion plan and executing it. My favorite thing about my internship is that I am able to work with social media and content creation while being an advocate for mental health and using my work to create awareness for something I am passionate about.

Summer 2019

Position: Child and Youth Program Intern
Major: Sociology Senior

This summer 2019, I served as the Child and Youth Program Intern at NAMI Central Texas. NAMI Central Texas is the larger Austin area affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, whose mission is dedicated to improving the lives of all individuals affected by mental illness through education, support and advocacy programs. NAMI Central Texas envisions a community that addresses mental illness as a health issue and provides the systems, resources and education for all people to achieve recovery.

I interned at the NAMI office at Austin State Hospital Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in the afternoon, and occasionally from home and on weekends. A typical day in the office would consist of checking in with my supervisor about my tasks for the day. Once a week, we would have check-ins to discuss my progress on tasks and discuss upcoming tasks and events. Throughout this internship I’ve had a variety of assignments. On a typical Monday, I would usually organize and clean materials and supplies from NAMI Basics classes that happened over the weekend. NAMI Basics is a class for parents and caregivers of children experiencing signs of behavioral or mental health concerns. Other tasks included: listening to webinar presentations and taking notes for my supervisor, organizing volunteers’ scripts for NAMI presentations like Ending the Silence and In Our Own Voices, emailing volunteers regarding their status on online trainings and scripts, compiling and organizing materials for NAMI classes and volunteer trainings, sitting in on meetings with staff and stakeholders, and more.

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
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    Austin, Texas 78712-1508