One of NAMI’s cornerstone programs is Family-to-Family. The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a 12-week course for family members and caregivers of individuals with mental illnesses. The course is taught by trained family members with the instruction and course materials offered FREE to class participants.
The highly-structured Family-to-Family curriculum educates caregivers and family members about various mental illnesses, treatments and medications, and rehabilitation. Participants learn self-care, problem-solving skills, and communications skills, which can later be taught to the entire family unit. Many graduates of the program called it “life-changing” as they develop friendships with others in similar situations.
The Family-to-Family program also allows participants to safely express their questions and concerns for their family member’s mental health by offering a comforting as well as empathetic environment. The agency’s goals and objectives for the program are to strengthen the family through communication, empathy, and understanding.
The Family-to-Family program is evidenced-based, which is the highest rating that an educational course can achieve in terms of sustainability of improving the quality of life for the individual and family members.
For a more detailed discussion of what is covered in a Family-to-Family course, please watch the following video.
Description of Project Goals
The programmatic goals for the Family-to-Family program consist of the following. These will dictate the direction of the focus of the course:
- Discuss the biological basis of brain disorders and treatment.
- Learn coping skills, listening, and communication techniques which gain empathy by understanding the subjective, lived experience of a person with mental illness.
- Handle periods of crisis and relapse.
- Learn self-care; recognize normal emotional reactions to worry, stress and overload.
- Find basic information about medications, (and side effects), and strategies for medication adherence.
- Locate current research related to the biology of brain disorders and the evidence-based, most effective treatment to promote recovery.
- Discuss national, regional and local resources.
- Learn about the appropriate mental health policies – private and public.
By the end of each 12-week educational course, the Family-to-Family program will accomplish the following objectives:
- Course Goal: To guide children and families to an emotional understanding, healing, insight and action.
- Co-teacher’s Primary Purpose: To convey sensitivity to, and understanding of, the pain and trauma present in the life of every class participant.
- Introduce Families to an Empathetic Community: “No one understands like my teachers, the friends I am making in this class, and NAMI.”
- No Concern about Information Selection or Retention: “We work to lower defenses to taking in frightening information, and helping families gain confidence that they can learn more and handle more.”
- Focus on Internal Process: “Letting families move at their own emotional pace means we do not push the “intellectual/cognitive” learning (head) part of the course, but rather pay attention to the integration of self-selected knowledge and “emotional understanding” (heart).
The Family-to-Family Education Program is a preventative measure to ensure the family unit remains strong because of the fact that when a loved one has a mental illness, it impacts the entire family. This preventative program decreases family violence, lessens the likelihood of drugs and alcohol use as coping mechanisms for consumers and caregivers, lowers the stress and tension levels in the family as well as diminishing the supposed need for forms of self-medicating such as gambling, sexual misbehavior or obesity. As a concern for mental health becomes more prominent in the family unit, it can decrease the stigma in the community, strengthening DeKalb residents through education.
To sign up for a class and location information:
Contact Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-468-9430
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.
If you are interested in taking a class, please contact Paul Wiser at email@example.com.