NAMI Family Support Group
What People are Saying about the Program
“The most beneficial thing for me was that I am not alone. I found the support group at a time when I really needed it!”
NAMI Family Support Groups are free, confidential and safe 90-minute weekly support groups open to any family or friends of an individual living with a mental health diagnosis. Groups follow a flexible structure without an educational format. Individual join a caring group of peers that offer support through their learned wisdom and participants can share as much or as little personal information as they wish.
Research has shown that having someone to talk to is instrumental in the mental health recovery process. Too often, mental illness is an isolating experience, and not just for the individual but the family member as well. Families often face feelings of guilt and helplessness for their loved ones that can be addressed to a degree by a supportive peer community that offers support, encouragement, and insight. Recovery is possible for individuals with a mental health diagnosis, especially with the support of family and friends. NAMI Family Support Group are informal sources of support and guidance. Groups do not recommend or endorse any medications or other medical therapies.
To support and empower. The goal of NAMI Family Support Group is to offer a regularly occurring opportunity to share the challenges and successes of supporting a loved one with a mental health condition and receive support and informal recommendations through a truly peer environment. Groups offers respect, understanding, encouragement and hope.
Who Leads the Program
A NAMI Family Support Group facilitator is a trained NAMI leader. They play an important role in ensuring that all participants feel welcomed and supported. NAMI Family Support Group facilitators are uniquely qualified to lead support groups because they love and support a person living with a mental health condition. Facilitators therefore can empathize with and encourage those who are just beginning, or continuing their journey with a loved one. A NAMI Family Support Group facilitator ensures that the group shares responsibility for maintaining guidelines, sustains clear participant boundaries, clarifies goals, and reinforces communication skills that encourage group participation.
How to Find the Program in your Community
How to Give Back
NAMI Family Support Group facilitators are volunteers who become certified by attending and graduating from a 2 day training. The training is designed for facilitators to learn and practice specific skills that will guarantee a meaningful support group experience for all participants. After the training, certified facilitators know how to encourage the group to make room for all of its voices; short-circuit personal sagas; engage the group in subjects of collective interest; encourage collective thought; and circumvent negative interactions by identifying common ground for real discussion among group participants. Facilitators make use of the strategies, structures, and processes they have learned from the training events to ensure the group provides a place that is safe and maintains group guidelines.Facilitator trainees are required to go through an application and screening process before being approved to attend a training event. For more information on how to get started, please contact your local affiliate. If you’re unable to locate an affiliate near you, please contact Mary Beth Walsh.
Support a local NAMI Family Support Group in your community. Our groups utilize volunteers and we are always in need of free spaces to host meetings, promotional assistance and monetary or in-kind donations to offset the costs of resource materials, trainings and refreshments. Contact your local affiliate to learn how you can assist.