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NAMI Basics


Dates and times for our next NAMI Basics class are not yet determined.

Please register for the Notification List
and we’ll let you know when the classes are arranged.

NAMI Basics Notification List

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What Is NAMI Basics?

NAMI Basics is a no-cost six-session course for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness. NAMI Basics is taught by trained teachers who are parents or caregivers of youth who developed symptoms of mental illness prior to age 13.

The course consists of six sessions, each lasting for 2.5 hours. Classes are offered in the evenings during the summer or on Saturdays during the school year to accommodate families’ hectic schedules.

What Are the Goals of NAMI Basics?

  • To give parents and caregivers basic information necessary to take care of themselves and their child(ren).
  • To help parents and caregivers cope with the impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family.
  • To provide tools for parents and caregivers to use even after completing the course that will assist in making the best decisions possible for the well-being of the child.

What Does the Course Include?

  • Introduction to the stages of emotional reactions of the family to the mental illness, including crisis, shock, denial, grief and acceptance.
  • Insights into understanding the child’s lived experience, including learning to separate the child you love from the illness that alters their behaviors and abilities.
  • 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, including the school system and the mental health system.
  • Exposure to personal record-keeping systems that have proven to be effective for parents and 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 to build a community of support for parents and caregivers.
  • Information on advocacy initiatives to improve and expand services, with an emphasis on personal advocates for parents and caregivers and children on an individual level.

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