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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Joe Pyle, MA
President

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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
Graduate Student

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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Consultant

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Behind the Scenes: Building Partnerships for Awareness

NAMI Kansas

Behind the Scenes: Building Partnerships for Awareness Logo

Program Website
Year:
2018
State:
Kansas
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Awareness
Target Population:
Community
Setting:
Community

Program Description

NAMI Kansas is the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an association of individuals living with mental illness and their family and friends dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illnesses. Because one in five people experience a mental illness and that fewer than half receive treatment, NAMI Kansas is striving to be an innovative leader in Kansas. NAMI Kansas seeks to reach all Kansans with messages about the need for system change, de-stigmatizing mental illness, and accepting mental illness as part of the human condition. NAMI Kansas has experimented with different approaches to build strategic partnerships. The barriers have been limited financial resources and lack of experience of volunteers in networking to build relationships. Behind the Scenes (BTS) is an innovative, yet simple system to introduce people to NAMI’s work. NAMI Kansas is using the BTS framework (developed by Sponsorship Plus) to make progress to broaden public awareness of mental illness, such that one in five Kansans recognize the NAMI Kansas name, brand, and mission. BTS is designed to expand NAMI’s reach in Kansas, lessen the stigma associated with mental illness, and to grow the pool of volunteers supporting NAMI’s mission.

Creativity

NAMI Kansas has learned that effective mental health partnerships are most successfully developed through storytelling in a low-pressure setting. The BTS solution has created an easy process for using the limited time and resources of volunteers to invite people to a presentation and then follow-up with a personal phone call to ask for feedback. The power and resourcefulness of BTS is that it does not depend on technology and focuses on the most effective forms of communication, in-person verbal story telling. BTS is a 45-minute presentation that outlines the work and values of NAMI Kansas using personal stories. A few days later during a personal follow up phone call, attendees provide valuable feedback about what they think would strengthen the impact of NAMI Kansas’ message. This component allows for responsiveness to those who are genuinely inspired leading to passionate partnerships.

Leadership

NAMI Kansas oversees 15 affiliates across Kansas, providing training, technical assistance, and backbone support. Based on affiliate interest and readiness BTS has been initially piloted in four different communities and local affiliates: NAMI Johnson County (Kansas City Metropolitan Area), NAMI Topeka, NAMI Flint Hills (Manhattan), and NAMI Wichita. In all four communities affiliate leaders are providing direction and insight about how best to share and expand BTS with other NAMI affiliates. NAMI Kansas seeks to extend BTS to all Kansas affiliate sites to demonstrate how BTS is in alignment with shared goals for outreach and engagement. BTS offered as an affiliate leadership development opportunity underwritten by the Sunflower Foundation located in Topeka, KS with the purpose of serving as a catalyst for improving the health of all Kansans.

Sustainability

BTS was developed by Sponsorship Plus and can be implemented by any mental health organization by understanding and articulating their goals, mission, and values in a way that captivates audiences. Mental health organizations will see that BTS is specifically well suited to address the issues of stigma as well as lifting up the importance of reducing negative stigma in advocating for systems change and the need for mental health peer support and education. BTS is playing a central role in helping NAMI Kansas develop more financial and social capital at a reasonable and sustainable pace. The cycle of repeating BTS presentations as a regular feature of outreach and engagement is self-sustaining because it is a simple way for NAMI volunteers to share the work of NAMI with other people in their communities and allow people to decide in a very non-threating way if they could see themselves getting more involved.

Replicability

BTS is a flexible framework that allows organizational leaders to represent their work, mission, goals, and values. Working within the BTS framework and obtaining training on BTS allows organizations to develop relationships with the people who are drawn to their organization, and dive deeper with those who exhibit true passion for their work. Acquiring the BTS model begins with a consultation contract with Sponsorship Plus to begin learning the model, developing scripts, and participating in coaching. Board members, staff and other volunteers invite small groups to attend BTS events. Tailored scripts for BTS presentations are crafted to meet the needs of the organization. Follow-up calls are designed to add value from the feedback provided by participants express interest in learning more about the organization and opportunities for engagement. Each organization interested in this model can adapt their story to meet the needs and values of their organization.

Results/Outcomes

NAMI Kansas has completed three onsite visits by Sponsorship Plus involving Board members, staff, and key affiliate leaders. These visits provided NAMI Kansas with an opportunity to better understand how the BTS model fits with the strategic priorities of the organization related to outreach and engagement. The four initial BTS events reached 57 individuals, more than half were new to NAMIK Kansas. NAMI Kansas leaders had to practice inviting individuals to BTS events. Through these events, NAMI Kansas received critical feedback from community stakeholders, and identified 10 individuals interested in get more involved with NAMI. Feedback from all attendees was that the BTS presentation was a very effective introduction to NAMI Kansas. One attendee stated, “I could easily see myself getting involved in helping support the BTS model as a presenter and support the development of a training program for other affiliates. This is really great stuff.”