When a caregiver or support person and an expert treatment provider join with a person living with a serious mental illness through active, positive relationships, the group creates a powerful catalyst for recovery and resilience. Participants in the Family-to-Family course come from diverse situations with regard to treatment status and diagnosis, though strong focus is given to persons living with symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The course emphasizes positive outcomes for family systems and caregivers or support persons, focusing on recovery from trauma and stress. It adds a critical piece to the often complex puzzle of getting those with a serious mental illness the right treatment and supports, and at the right times.
Family-to-Family meets caregivers where they are, providing current information about serious mental illnesses diagnoses and treatment options, empathy through learning about lived experiences, new communication skills, strategies for dealing with crisis and relapse, caregiver coping skills, and guidance on community support options.
Family-to-Family is an evidence-based practice. Taught with fidelity to NAMI’s peer education model by trained volunteers who are also family members of people living with serious mental illnesses, it has been shown through rigorous academic studies to improve empowerment, knowledge, and emotional coping skills of family members. It reduces anxiety, and likely depression, experienced by family members. It helps the family to function in healthy ways by strengthening problem-solving skills. Finally, family members who participate in Family-to-Family retain these benefits long after the course has been completed.
NAMI affiliates provide the course and all course materials to participants at no cost.