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NAMI Basics is the new signature education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness. It is a six-session course, with each session lasting roughly 2½ hours, taught by trained teachers who themselves are the parent or other caregiver of an individual who developed symptoms of mental illness prior to age 13, and is FREE for all participants.

Some of the central components of this program include:

  • Recognition of mental illness as a continuing traumatic event for the child and the family.
  • Sensitivity to the subjective emotional issues faced by family caregivers and well children in the family.
  • Recognition of the need to help ameliorate the day-to-day objective burdens of care and management.
  • Gaining confidence and stamina for what can be a lifelong role of family understanding and support.

What are the goals of the NAMI Basics program?

  • To give the parent/caregiver the basic information necessary to be as effective a caregiver as possible.
  • To help the parent/caregiver cope with the impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family.
  • To provide tools for the parent/caregiver to use after completing the program that will assist in making the best decisions possible for the care of the child.

What does the course include?

  • Introduction to the normative stages of emotional reactions of the family to the trauma of mental illness.
  • Insights into an empathic understanding of the subjective, lived experience of the child living with the mental illness.
  • Current information about Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Childhood Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorders.
  • Current research related to the biology of mental illness and the evidence-based, most effective treatment strategies available, including medications used to treat mental illness in children and adolescents.
  • Specific workshops to learn problem solving, listening and communication skills.
  • Examples of strategies that have been found helpful in handling challenging behaviors in children and adolescents.
  • Information about the systems that are major players in the lives of children and adolescents with mental illness in the school system and the mental health system.
  • Exposure to personal record keeping systems that have proven to be effective for parents/caregivers in their interactions with the school and healthcare systems.
  • Information on planning for crisis management and relapse.
  • Information on locating appropriate supports and services within the community.
  • Information on advocacy initiatives designed to improve and expand services, with an emphasis on personal advocates for the parent/caregiver and child on an individual level.

Courses in New York State can be found by contacting your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org To learn more about NAMI Basics, click here.


NAMI Basics Outreach Video


NAMI Connection Logo

NAMI Connection is a recovery support group for adults living with mental illness in which people learn from each others experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding.

Groups are confidential, open, and free of charge.

Support groups are open to all adults with mental illness, regardless of diagnosis. Participants should feel welcome to drop by and share feelings, difficulties, or successes. Everyone is a valued participant.

A NAMI Connection group is an alliance of individuals who have in common the experience of living with mental illness. It provides a place to share our experiences and use them as learning opportunities for ourselves and others. Connection groups are a safe space to confront the challenges that all consumers face, regardless of diagnosis: low self-esteem, social isolation, dual diagnosis, stigma and discrimination, and others.

Groups in New York State can be viewed by clicking here. If you do not find a group in your area listed here please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org


NAMI Connection: All About The Program


NAMI Family To Family Logo

Family-to-Family is the free 12-week family education program for family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illness.

  • 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, 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 the 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.

Courses in New York State can be found by clicking here. Please note that most courses run the approximate length of a school semester and therefore start in September/October or in January/February. If you do not find a course in your area listed here please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org


NAMI Family to Family Promo.mp4


In Our Own Voice 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 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 In Our Own Voice (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.

The goals of IOOV are to meet the need for consumer-run initiatives, to set a standard for quality education about mental illness from those who have been there, to offer genuine work opportunities, to encourage self-confidence and self-esteem in presenters, and to focus on recovery and the message of hope.

Anyone familiar with mental illness knows that recovery is not a singular event, but a multi-dimensional, multi-linear journey characterized more by the mindset of the one taking it than by his or her condition at any given moment along the way. Understanding recovery as having several dimensions makes its uneven course easier to accept. Much as we don't blame the cancer patient for dying of invasive tumors, we can't condemn a consumer whose symptoms overtake his or her best efforts to manage illness. Recovery is the point in someone's illness in which the illness is no longer the first and foremost part of his or her life, no longer the essence of all his or her existence.

Ultimately, recovery is about attitude and making the effort.

Groups or organizations interested in seeing a presentation, please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org


NAMI In Our Own Voice


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.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a free, 10-session educational program for adults with mental illness who are looking to better understand their condition and journey toward recovery.

Taught by a trained team of people who've been there, the program includes presentations, discussion and interactive exercises. Everything is confidential, and NAMI never recommends a specific medical therapy or treatment approach.

What you'll gain

This in-person group experience provides the opportunity for mutual support and positive impact. You can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who relate to your experiences. Through your participation, you have the opportunity to help others grow. This is a confidential place to learn from shared experiences in an environment of sincere, uncritical acceptance. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope for all people living with mental illness.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer helps you:

  • Create a personalized relapse prevention plan
  • Learn how to interact with health care providers
  • Develop confidence for making decisions and reducing stress
  • Stay up-to-date on mental health research
  • Understand the impact of symptoms on your life
  • Access practical resources on how to maintain your journey toward recovery

What People are saying

  • "NAMI Peer-to-Peer has allowed me to take the focus off my illness and learn to balance it with the rest of my life. By engaging in recovery I am able to be more relaxed and productive both at work and home."

For more information on Peer-to-Peer click here or please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org


NAMI Peer to Peer


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.

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.

For more information about the NAMI Provider Education Program in New York State please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org


Provider Education: NAMI course for Professionals interacting with people with a mental illness


NAMI Family Support Group is for those who need support dealing with a loved one who is living with mental illness.

Too often, mental illness is an isolating experience, accompanied by profound anxiety. When your family member is diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or any of several other illnesses, there is a dramatic change in the relational dynamics between family members.

NAMI Family Support Group

NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar circumstances.

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 (18+) of individuals living with mental illness
  • Led by family members of individuals living with mental illness
  • Meets weekly or monthly
  • No specific medical therapy or medication is endorsed or recommended
  • Confidential

What You’ll Gain

By sharing your experiences in a safe and confidential setting, you 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 through other’s experiences, discover your inner strength and learn now to identify local resources and how to use them.

NAMI Family Support Group will help you:

  • See the individual first, not the illness
  • Recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses that may have environmental triggers 
  • Understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events 
  • Aim for better coping skills 
  • Find strength in sharing experiences 
  • Reject stigma and not tolerate discrimination 
  • Not judge anyone’s pain 
  • Forgive ourselves and reject guilt 
  • Embrace humor as healthy 
  • Accept that we cannot solve every problem 
  • Work for a better future in a realistic way

Groups in New York State can be viewed by clicking here. If you do not find a group in your area listed here please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org



NAMI Homefront is a free, 6-session educational program for families, caregivers and friends of military service members and vets with mental health conditions. Based on the nationally recognized NAMI Family-to-Family program, NAMI Homefront is designed to address the unique needs of family, caregivers and friends of those who have served or are currently serving our country. The program is taught by trained family members of service members/veterans living with mental health conditions.

NAMI Homefront teaches you how to: Manage crises, solve problems and communicate effectively Learn to care for yourself, including managing your stress Develop the confidence and stamina to support your family member with compassion Identify and access federal, state and local services Stay informed on the latest research and information on mental health, including posttraumatic stress disorder and substance abuse Understand current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects Navigate the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on the entire family.

If you would like to attend a NAMI Homefront class,please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org



Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental illness makes a big difference. We can teach them about the warning signs for themselves and their friends. NAMI Ending the Silence helps raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions.

Through this free classroom presentation, students get to see the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the 50-minute presentation, a young adult living with mental illness and a family member tell their stories about mental health challenges, including what hurt and what helped.

Moving stories from positive role models have the power to change kids' views. The discussion gives students the rare opportunity to ask questions about mental health challenges to people who have lived it. The presentation’s message of empathy and hope encourages students to actively care for themselves and their friends. It also teaches them it's okay to talk about what they're feeling. NAMI Ending the Silence covers:

  • Early warning signs
  • Facts and statistics about youth and mental health conditions
  • When, where and how to get help for themselves or their friends
  • When it’s not okay to keep a secret

If you would like to schedule a NAMI Ending the Silence presentation in your school, please contact your local NAMI affiliate or Wendy Burch at NAMI-NYS (518)462-2000 email wendy@naminys.org