By Jessie Smith
For 10 years, I have led a NAMI Connection support group. In July 2020, I was asked to facilitate a NAMI meeting online and faced a big adjustment converting a typically in-person support group into a virtual one.
I asked our local New Orleans team group coordinator for some advice. She said it would be the same as facilitating an in-person meeting, except it would be on the Internet. Simple enough, I thought. So, I went to work.
Through that process, I learned a lot about how to make the switch to a virtual environment and offer a few tips based on my experience.
Even though the transition from in person was a big adjustment in the beginning, I began feeling more comfortable as I got used to the virtual meetings and once they were running smoothly. After two months, more people joined online with the group and it made me feel like I was contributing more to the mental health movement during this pandemic. Hopefully, these tips can help other people do the same for their communities.
Jessie Smith III is a Certified Peer Support Specialist for NAMI New Orleans. He also serves on the board of NAMI Louisiana. Jessie attended Tulane School of Medicine and LSU School of Public Health.
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