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Family to Family Class

NAMI’s Family-to-Family Education Program

Family-to Family is a free 12-week course for family members/caregivers of adults living with severe mental illnesses.  Trained family members teach the course.  All instruction and course materials are free to class participants.  Over 300,000 family members have graduated from this national program.

What You Will Learn

  • 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

“Family members who take the NAMI Family-to-Family course are better equipped to work with mental health clinicians in a collaborative manner. My bottom-line recommendation? Take this course. It will help you learn to cope successfully with a major challenge in your life, and that, in turn, will help your loved one as he or she works toward recovery.”

— Peter Weiden, M.D., author of Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications


Contact Sheila Brockmeier for more information:

Keep in mind that families often become the primary caregiver of their ill family member. This burden of care has a significant impact on the family’s quality of life and it creates new challenges in developing coping skills, communication skills, learning to take care of ones self and in setting boundaries. Additionally, as the family’s journey with mental illness progresses, many families suddenly find themselves in financial difficulties, having marital/relationship problems, dealing with job related problems, coping with mental and physical exhaustion, isolated, dealing with stigma, and even blamed for their ill family member’s illness. At the same time, many families discover the mental health system is dysfunctional at best and unable to assist them. NAMI’s Family-to-Family course can help to alleviate many of the subjective burdens that families carry while caring for their ill loved one, as well as help them maneuver through the flawed “system”. Evidence-based studies found that families who had taken the Family-to-Family course felt a greater perception of empowerment and a reduction in their subjective burden of caring for a family member with a serious mental illness. This in turn lifted their spirits and made their caretaking role and family situation seem more manageable and less depressing.


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