Education & Classes
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.
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 Homefront is a class for families, partners and friends of military service members and veterans experiencing a mental health challenge. The course is designed specifically to help these families understand those challenges and improve the ability of participants to support their service member or veteran.
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.
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.