Our Community Outreach Peer Education (COPE) team is comprised of Florida Certified Recovery Peer Specialists who do outreach for NAMI Collier County, who have lived experience of mental illness and who have gone through training and certification preparing them to serve as a role model to other people in recovery from mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Many of our peer specialists have additional education and training in mental health and/or significant experience working with their peers.

Peer support is based on the premise that those with shared experiences can often be a role model for people with severe mental illness, helping them to feel that they are not alone, to be inspired to have hope that they can recover, and to establish a sense of companionship, camaraderie, and support that often significantly assists in their recovery process. Peer support is an evidence-based practice that is considered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to be one of ten guiding principles of recovery.

COPE peer support specialists can serve as a sounding board, actively listening to your needs and offering understanding and support through shared experience. Peer specialists advocate for peers, teach coping skills, and help peers access the services and supports that will help them attain their individual recovery goals.

In addition to the individual peer support we provide to high-need persons with serious mental illnesses in Collier County, COPE facilitates NAMI’s peer-run support groups: Recovery Skills; NAMI Connections; Hearing Voices, Seeing Things; DBT Peer-run Skills Training, and WRAP time.

COPE’s outreach efforts also include community partnerships:

  • David Lawrence Center (DLC) Crisis Stabilization Unit Liaison: The COPE Liaison visits peers in the DLC Crisis Stabilization Unit to offer individual and group support. Persons served on the unit are also offered post-discharge meetings with a peer specialist. The meetings emphasize (but are not necessary limited to) peer support, goal setting, and linkage to services at NAMI and the Sarah Ann Drop-in Center.

  • FIRST Peer Specialists: The Forensic Intensive Reintegration Support Team (FIRST) project is a collaboration between NAMI, DLC and Collier County Sheriff’s Office. Our two FIRST Specialists serve clients assigned by one of our partners to participate in this program. The FIRST program helps adults with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance abuse disorders successfully integrate into society following a period of incarceration.

  • Community Outreach: Our COPE team also facilitates a NAMI Connections group at the Willough of Naples, develops customized educational presentations for community agencies and is also developing projects to serve individuals through partnerships with other agencies as well.

 For more information, please contact Cindy at 239-963-5708.

Click Here if you are interested in becoming a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist.