NAMI Collier County has achieved national accreditation for the fourth consecutive year through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). NAMI Collier County’s mission it to improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by serious mental illnesses through education, support and advocacy. Due to the pandemic slowing down processes, it took NAMI Collier County almost a full year to achieve accreditation from the independent, nonprofit, human services accrediting organization. Organizations pursue accreditation to demonstrate the implementation of best practice standards. COA evaluated all aspects of Nami Collier County’s programs, services, management, and administration.

“In 2017, we were the first NAMI affiliate to be accredited by the COA to show we are committed to promoting rigorous and relevant standards of excellence for child welfare, behavioral health and other community-based social service nonprofit organizations,” said Pamela Baker, NAMI Collier County’s chief executive officer. “Because of COA’s vigorous review of our entire operations, our board of directors, staff, consumers, stakeholders and donors can have confidence in the credibility, integrity and achievement of our organization.”

To achieve COA accreditation, NAMI Collier County first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards. A group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to these standards during a series of on-site interviews with trustees, staff and clients.

COA accreditation is an objective, independent and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards driving accreditation ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce. COA accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement.

An endorsement of COA and the value of its accreditation process is reflected in it being named by the U.S. State Department as the sole national independent accrediting body under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption to accredit intercountry adoption service providers. In addition, COA is the only national accreditor designated by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop accreditation standards and processes for human service programs provided to military personnel and their families.

About Council of Accreditation

Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Over 2,000 organizations — voluntary, public, and proprietary; local and statewide; large and small — have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA has a total of 47 service standards that are applicable to over 125 different types of programs. To learn more about COA, please visit www.coanet.org.

About NAMI Collier County

NAMI Collier County provides free education, to help individuals living with mental illness along with their families, caregivers & health care providers. NAMI programs include Support Groups, a Family-to-Family 12-week program for families and caregivers of persons with diagnosed mental illnesses, and Guide, a series of monthly seminars, which provide helpful information to caregivers of adults with mental illness. The Sarah Ann Drop-In Center, located at 6324 Trail Boulevard in Naples, is a self-standing center where persons with a diagnosis may go during the day, six days a week with classes, support groups, daily activities, lunches and outings. Every other month, NAMI trains 30 members of law enforcement and related agencies to be members of CIT (Crisis Intervention Team), providing information about mental illness and how to de-escalate potentially deadly confrontations. NAMI continuously provides over $30,000 in financial assistance for psychiatric evaluations and emergency prescriptions, shelter, and food. NAMI depends largely on individual and corporate donations.