If you have a mental health condition, you're not alone. One in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, 1 in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression.
As with other serious illnesses, mental illness is not your fault or that of the people around you, but widespread misunderstandings about mental illness remain. Many people don't seek treatment or remain unaware that their symptoms could be connected to a mental health condition. People may expect a person with serious mental illness to look visibly different from others, and they may tell someone who doesn't "look ill" to "get over it" through willpower. These misperceptions add to the challenges of living with a mental health condition.
Every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do the things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, you can dramatically reduce many of your symptoms. People with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in their careers, make friends and have relationships. Mental illness can slow us down, but we don't need to let it stop us.
NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 8-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition.
NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.
NAMI Family-to-Family not only provides information and strategies for taking care of the person you love, but you'll also find out that you're not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope.
The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact—experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing your own experience may help others in your class. In the program, you'll learn about:
"The course gave me hope that it will be okay, that I am not alone and reduced a lot of shame, guilt and hopelessness."
"I wish I'd known about this seven years ago when the problem began. I felt safe in this class. I was able to talk about things I haven't been comfortable expressing elsewhere."
"Before I took the course, I felt alone and overwhelmed dealing with my daughter’s mental illness. By taking this course, I have met others who are going through the same things I am and have learned about many resources that I never knew existed."
"I thought my wife and I knew just about everything there is to know about the system and the illness. Boy, were we wrong. Without a doubt, this is the best support course I have had the privilege of taking part in, bar none."
Find the NAMI Family-to-Family class nearest to you. If a class isn’t available, contact your local NAMI Affiliate about starting one.
A Spanish-language version of NAMI Family-to-Family, De Familia a Familia de NAMI, is available in a limited number of states.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions who are looking to better understand themselves and their recovery.
Taught by trained leaders with lived experience, this program includes activities, discussions and informative videos. However, as with all NAMI programs, it does not include recommendations for treatment approaches.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a safe, confidential space. The course provides an opportunity for mutual support and growth. Experience compassion and understanding from people who relate to your experiences. This is a place to learn more about recovery in an accepting environment.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer helps you:
“I am now aware that I’m not alone. I’d like to become more involved with NAMI and advocacy.”
“I’ve really learned how to cope with my triggers better, and I’m now on the path to truly loving myself.”
“NAMI Peer-to-Peer gave me hope when I was close to giving up. I realized that things can and do get better and that my mental health condition doesn’t define me. I learned how to speak up for myself, build a strong support network and make plans for my future. I felt welcome and like I was among friends. Most importantly, I felt heard and understood.”
“I’ve learned how to communicate with my parents about what’s going on with me.”
“It was really nice being with people who understood.”
Find the NAMI Peer-to-Peer class nearest to you. If a class isn’t available, contact your local NAMI about starting one.
The Spanish version of NAMI Peer-to-Peer, De Persona a Persona de NAMI, is available in a limited number of states.