NAMI  Family-to Family  is a free, 8-class education program for family members of adults living with mental health condition. In this program family is viewed from a broad perspective to include parents, siblings, spouses, adult sons and daughters, partners and significant others. The course is designed to help all family members understand and support their loved one with a mental health condition while maintaining their own well-being. The course includes information on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and other mental health conditions. 

NAMI  Family-to-Family  is included in the Substance Abuse SAMHSA’S National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices and research has indicated that the class is effective in reducing the subjective burden (emotional stress) of family members while increasing empowerment (sense of having both the rights and the information or skills needed to understand a given situation and to meet one’s goals within) through increased knowledge and understanding of serious mental illness, the mental health system, and self-care. 


NAMI Family-to-Family Goals 

To educate and empower. The goal of NAMI  Family-to-Family  is to provide current information and resources around the major mental illnesses and recovery while also providing specific skills around supporting a loved one living with a mental health diagnosis while also ensuring individual wellness. Specific elements include: 

  • Current information and research about the major mental illnesses and biological aspects of these illnesses. 
  • Current information on the possibilities for living in recovery, including a variety of treatment strategies. 
  • Empathy by creating an understanding of the subjective, lived experience of a person living with mental illness. 
  • Specific skills training in the areas of problem solving, listening, communication techniques and handling crises and relapse. 
  • Focus on care for the caregiver such as learning to cope with worry, stress and emotional overload. 
  • Guidance on locating appropriate supports and services within the community and tips to advocate for them. 


NAMI Family-to-Family Teachers 

NAMI  Family-to-Family  teachers are trained NAMI leaders. They play an important role in ensuring that all participants feel welcomed and supported. NAMI  Family-to-Family  teachers are uniquely qualified to lead a class because they love and support a person living with a mental health condition. Teachers therefore can empathize with and encourage those who are just beginning, or continuing their journey with a loved one. NAMI  Family-to-Family  teachers ensure that the class achieves the educational objectives. 

NAMI  Family-to-Family  teachers are volunteers who become certified by attending and graduating from a 3-day training. The training is designed for teachers to learn and practice specific skills that will guarantee a meaningful and informative educational experience for all participants. After the training, certified teachers know how to deliver class content; encourage collective thought; and direct energy towards productive outcomes. Teachers make use of a class manual and facilitations skills to ensure participants experience a safe learning environment. Teacher trainees are required to go through an application and screening process before being approved to attend a training event.  

If you are interested in becoming a NAMI Family-to-Family teacher, please contact your local NAMI or the NAMI Wisconsin state office at (608) 268-6000 or  [email protected] 


NAMI Family-to-Family Classes in Your Community 

If you are interested in taking a Family-to-Family class, please contact your local NAMI. Find your Local NAMI 

If you do not have a NAMI affiliate in your county, please contact the NAMI Wisconsin state office at (608) 268-6000 or [email protected]. 


This is a NAMI Signature program. To learn more, please visit: https://nami.org/Support-Education/Mental-Health-Education/NAMI-Family-to-Family