What is NAMI Basics?
NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of children and teens who are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or whom have already been diagnosed. NAMI Basics is offered in a group setting so you can connect with other people face-to-face.
You'll learn the facts about mental health conditions and how best to support your child at home, at school and when they're getting medical care. Last year, 99% of participants told us they would recommend the program to other parents.
The course is taught by a trained team with lived experience—they know what you're going through because they've been there. The 6-session program provides critical strategies for taking care of your child and learning the ropes of recovery.
What are the goals of the NAMI Basics program?
- To give the parent/caregiver the basic information necessary to take the best care possible of their child, their family, and themself.
- To help the parent/caregiver cope with the impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family.
- To provide tools for the parent/caregiver to use even after completing the program that will assist in making the best decisions possible for the care of the child.
An Evaluation of the NAMI Basics Program
This study is based on "before" and "after" questionnaires completed by 36 caregivers in Mississippi and Tennessee in 2008-2009. The small sample and geographic scope should cause the study to be interpreted cautiously, while suggesting directions for broader research.
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 of the lived experience of the child living with the mental illness, including learning to separate the child you love from the illness that alters their behavior 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 – the school system and the mental health system
- Exposure to personal record keeping systems that have proven to be effective for parents/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 the parent/caregiver
- Information on advocacy initiatives designed to improve and expand services, with an emphasis on personal advocates for the parent/caregiver and child on an individual level