The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) San Diego realized a large number of San Diegans did not have access to technology or know how to use technology. NAMI San Diego set out to increase health/wellness literacy by providing technology tools to individuals with mental illness and their supportive families. The “Tech Café Technology Toolbox” program is instrumental in educating and empowering individuals through the use of technology so they can schedule medical appointments, access health/wellness resources, gain employment, address transportation issues, access online education, and connect with family and friends.
Since January 2015, 361 San Diegans living with mental illness have graduated from computer classes and more than 500 elders received personalized computer training. In addition, NAMI San Diego provided 55 wellness webinars and an interactive mental health website feature “Ask NAMI San Diego” at www.namisandiego.org. The program is funded by the County of San Diego and partners include mental health support centers (known as Clubhouses), Serving Seniors and Legal Aid of San Diego.
Peg recently attended the “Tech Café Technology Toolbox” program and it was a success. With a history of over a decade working as a professional clown, Peg reported her mental illness became so debilitating she could no longer work. After being unemployed, she tried to increase her job skills and took a computer class at a local college unsuccessfully. At this same time, she was an active participant at NAMI San Diego when she heard about the NAMI San Diego Tech Cafe. After graduating from their computer classes, Peg felt she was ready for the next step and enrolled in a work readiness program. After graduation, she accepted a full-time job in the mental health field. She reports loving her job and feeling great.
Pictured above: Peg with her certificate