Programs and Services
What are NAMI Family Support Groups?
NAMI Family Support Groups are peer-led support groups for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences.
NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get what they need.
- Free of cost to participants
- Designed for adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions
- Led by family members of people with mental health conditions
- 60-90 minutes long and meets weekly, every other week or monthly (varies by location)
- No specific medical therapy or treatment is endorsed
What You’ll Gain
By sharing your experiences in a safe setting, you can gain hope and develop supportive relationships. This group allows your voice to be heard and provides an opportunity for your personal needs to be met. It encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. You’ll benefit from other’s experiences, discover your inner strength and empower yourself by sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental space.
NAMI Family Support Group will help you:
- Aim for better coping skills
- Find strength in sharing experiences
- Not judge anyone’s pain
- Forgive ourselves and reject guilt
- Embrace humor as healthy
- Accept that we cannot solve every problem
- Understand that mental health conditions are no one’s fault and can be traumatic experiences
What People Are Saying
“The most beneficial thing for me was that I am not alone. I found the NAMI Family Support Group at the time I really needed it!”
“The support group facilitators and attendees were respectful of other people’s experiences and were non-judgmental when there were different ways of handling things.”
“I felt I received constructive, practical and helpful information from group members.”
“Using the [NAMI] support group model is so essential to the success of our family support groups. As a group, the collective wisdom covered a lot of possibilities.”
What is NAMI’s Family-to-Family Program?
The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses.
- The course is taught by trained family members
- All instruction and course materials are free to class participants
- Over 300,000 family members have graduated from this national program
What does the course include?
- Current information about schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and co-occurring brain disorders and addictive disorders
- Up-to-date information about medications, side effects, and strategies for medication adherence
- Current research related to the biology of brain disorders and the evidence-based, most effective treatments to promote recovery
- Gaining empathy by understanding the subjective, lived experience of a person with mental illness
- Learning in special workshops for problem solving, listening, and communication techniques
- Acquiring strategies for handling crises and relapse
- Focusing on care for the caregiver: coping with worry, stress, and emotional overload
- Guidance on locating appropriate supports and services within the community
- Information on advocacy initiatives designed to improve and expand services.
What is NAMI Basics?
NAMI Basics is the new signature education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses. The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years.
The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours. Classes may be offered weekly for six consecutive weeks, or may be offered twice
per week for three weeks to accommodate the hectic schedules of parents.
All instruction materials are FREE to participants.
What is NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Program?
Peer-to-Peer is a unique, experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery.
- The course was written by Kathryn Cohan McNulty, a person with a psychiatric disability who is also a former provider and manager in the mental health field and a longtime mutual support group member and facilitator.
- An advisory board comprised of NAMI consumer members, in consultation with Joyce Burland, Ph.D., author of the successful NAMI Family-to-Family Education program, helped guide the curriculum’s development.
- Since 2005, NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Recovery Program has been supported by AstraZeneca.
What does the course include?
- Peer-to-Peer consists of ten two-hour units and is taught by a team of two trained “Mentors” and a volunteer support person who are personally experienced at living well with mental illness.
- Mentors are trained in an intensive three day training session and are supplied with teaching manuals.
- Participants come away from the course with a binder of hand-out materials, as well as many other tangible resources: an advance directive; a “relapse prevention plan” to help identify tell-tale feelings, thoughts, behavior, or events that may warn of impending relapse and to organize for intervention; mindfulness exercises to help focus and calm thinking; and survival skills for working with providers and the general public.
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group
NAMI Connection is a weekly recovery support group for people living with mental illness in which people learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding.
What is IOOV?
In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained consumer speakers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery.
The program was started with a grant from Eli Lily and Company.
IOOV is an opportunity for those who have struggled with mental illness to gain confidence and to share their individual experiences of recovery and transformation.
Throughout the IOOV presentation, audience members are encouraged to offer feedback and ask questions. Audience participation is an important aspect of IOOV because the more audience members become involved, the closer they come to understanding what it is like to live with a mental illness and stay in recovery.
IOOV presentations are given to consumer groups, students, law enforcement officials, educators, providers, faith community members, politicians, professionals, inmates, and interested civic groups.
All presentations are offered free of charge.
Discover the Resources at NAMI FaithNet
NAMI National FaithNet has exciting new resources for utilization by NAMI members in their advocacy to their places of worship. These resources are available for downloading on NAMI FaithNet’s Web site, (www.nami.org/faithnet).
These new modules are proving to be very helpful in developing ministry for those with a mental illness and their families in Faith Communities. I encourage you to review them on the NAMI FaithNet website.
To effectively utilize these Power-Point presentations for self or group study, it is necessary to download the files and save them to your desk top. This will enable you to access the notes section which is essential to gain the full value of the training. The slides by themselves only contain the main points. The notes are made available by clicking on View in the tool bar at the top of your screen after the Power Point slides have been downloaded.
Educational Modules available at www.nami.org/faithnet.
Education leads to understanding.
Understanding leads to empathy.
Empathy leads to loving compassionate care.
Education leads to understanding. Understanding leads to empathy. Empathy leads to loving compassionate care. Because of the need for education to start this chain reaction, NAMI FaithNet of Orange County has initiated a monthly training and sharing session (except December) for those attempting to initiate or expand ministry with those affected by mental illness. This month’s session included a discussion of NAMI FaithNet’s outreach and other NAMI programs (e.g. Family to Family, Peer to Peer and etc.), which can play an important role in the education of those in our congregations who have a mental illness and their families.
These new modules are also designed to be helpful for advocating to our fellow parishioners who do not have a mental illness. Reaching the 80% who do not have a mental illness or have a family member with one of these “no fault” disorders is particularly important in our attempts to develop a sustained ministry in Faith Communities.
Please be assured that these modules are not intended to replace any of NAMI’s programs. They are designed to work hand-in-hand with them. Those of us on the six member NAMI National FaithNet advisory group strongly recommend taking NAMI’s Family to Family or Peer to Peer class before participating in Faith Community outreach.
What Is Hearts & Minds?
The NAMI Hearts & Minds program is an online, interactive, educational initiative promoting the idea of wellness in both mind and body. Wellness is an ongoing process of learning how to make choices that support a more successful, healthy life.
Engaging in a wellness effort can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that taking the wellness approach can result in a 17 percent decline in total medical visits and a 35 percent decline in medical visits for minor illnesses.
Wellness is about the individual; you can decide what parts of your life you would like to change and you can determine your own success.
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 12-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
What is NAMI Provider Education?
The NAMI Provider Education Program is a 5-week course that presents a penetrating, subjective view of family and consumer experiences with serious mental illness to line staff at public agencies who work directly with people experiencing severe and persistent mental illnesses.
The course helps providers realize the hardships that families and consumers face and appreciate the courage and persistence it takes to live with and recover from mental illness.
How is the Provider Education course unique?
The Provider Course emphasizes the involvement of consumers and family members as faculty in provider-staff training. The teaching team consists of five people:
- Two family members trained as Family-to-Family Education Program teachers;
- Two consumers who are knowledgeable about their own mental illness, have a supportive relationship with their families, and are dedicated to the process of recovery; and
- A mental health professional who is also a family member or consumer.
Few teaching programs employ consumers in this kind of sustained training effort in which they are paid to participate on a teaching team as they present a 5-week course.
The course reflects a new knowledge base — the “lived experiences” of people coping with a mental illness or caring for someone who lives with a mental illness. Including this deeply personal perspective creates an appreciable difference in the program’s content. It adds a means of teaching the emotional aspects and practical consequences of these illnesses to the academic medical information in the course.
Crisis Intervention Training
NAMI partner programs like Army One Source and Make the Connection provide much-needed help for veterans and for those who treat them and their families.
NAMI on Campus
NAMI on Campus provides information and resources to support students living with mental health conditions and to empower them to take action on their campuses. This site also includes materials to help colleges in improving the academic and social experience of their students by addressing the mental health needs of all students.