NAMI Partners with PagerDuty to Deliver Critical Mental Health Resources
Life is full of uncertainty, and when it throws us into a hole that seems impossible to climb out of, having a trusted friend to rely on can make all of the difference. Through a variety of resources, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, provides a lifeline to individuals and their families. NAMI is your trusted friend and your guide to navigate you through difficult times, because they’ve been there before and they know the way out. PagerDuty’s commitment to supporting our social impact customers allows for increased support and expansion of critical services, like the ones offered by NAMI.
Based in Arlington, Va., NAMI, the United States’ largest grassroots mental health organization, has independent affiliates throughout the nation. Their mission is to provide advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. It’s a mission PagerDuty proudly supports. They offer multiple programs, including free education and support groups led by those with lived experience with mental health issues.
A key service and common first point of contact is NAMI’s HelpLine. The nationwide peer-support service provides information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. The HelpLine is largely staffed by volunteers who answer questions, offer support and provide practical next steps. In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HelpLine was overwhelmed and stretched to its limit.
Pandemic Increases Need For NAMI’s Services
The pandemic sparked a huge increase in the need for NAMI’s resources and support. According to The World Health Organization, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25 percent during the first two years of the pandemic.
At the same time, NAMI saw its HelpLine inquiries skyrocket. “In May of 2020, HelpLine calls went up more than 50 percent,” said Jessica Edwards, Chief Development Officer at NAMI. “The demand increased for our virtual support groups, our HelpLine, our resources online. Everything increased in a very dramatic way because people were really struggling,” Edwards said.
The surge didn’t stop after that first month or even that year. The need for NAMI’s services became more crucial, especially as talking openly about mental health conditions became more accepted by society at large. “One of the only bright spots of the pandemic was that mental health finally got the attention that it really needed, because it was more comfortable for people to say they were not OK,” Edwards said.
PagerDuty’s Impact Pricing Allows NAMI to Expand Services
NAMI needed a way to scale and meet this growing demand for the HelpLine. When they were introduced to PagerDuty and learned about Impact Pricing for nonprofit customers, NAMI found a way to solve its technology needs, giving the HelpLine a much-needed boost. The ability to streamline their on-call schedule and simplify how volunteers were made aware of a crisis call allowed NAMI to scale for the increased demand for the HelpLine.
With the support of PagerDuty, NAMI was able to add 40 new HelpLine volunteers and several new full-time staff. “We’re now able to keep pace with necessary capacity for volunteer support, as well as expand our offerings,” Edwards said. “More people are calling the HelpLine,” she added. “More people are wanting guidance and information. So, the more we’re able to leverage technology like PagerDuty to have more volunteers, the more people we can help.”
Partnering With PagerDuty to Provide More Support
Eliminating the stigma of mental health and steering the public conversation around resources and support is the main focus for NAMI. With help from PagerDuty, they plan to expand services, such as increasing the number of bilingual Spanish- and English-speaking HelpLine volunteers and interns. This gives more access to services to more people in need.
“PagerDuty is a company and an organization that is authentic in leveraging technology for social change and social good,” Edwards said. “They really make a change and make a difference. And in our social impact world, these are the kinds of companies that NAMI loves to work and partner with.”