What is NAMI?

NAMI is an acronym for The National Alliance on Mental Illness  and is a grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.  NAMI has over 1100 affiliates in communities who engage in advocacy, research, support and education.  Members of NAMI are families, friends and people living with mental illnesses such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

The NAMI Group in Belleville, under the umbrella Agency of Peer Support South East Ontario offer support and education programs for individuals and families.  Service Provider and Family-to-Family Courses are offered in the Spring and Autumn each year and a HOPE Conference occurs every second year, generally in September.

NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program

Despite gains in the treatment and opportunities for recovery, coping with the difficulties that many people encounter in caring for a relative or friend with mental illness can be difficult.  The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is an 11 week course for families and friends of adults living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders and borderline personality disorder.  Course participants gain vital information, insight and understanding of their loved one that many describe as life-changing.

Family-to-Family provides caregivers with communication and problem-solving techniques, coping mechanisma and the self-care skills needed to deal with their loved one’s mental illness as well as its impact on the family.

The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is taught in 49 states in the United States, two provinces in Canada, Mexico and in Italy.  It has touched the lives of more than 200,000 participants.  The curriculum as been translated into Spanish.

The Course provides insights into, and resolution of, the profound concerns experienced by families, close relatives and friends as they strive to cope with the realities of serious mental illness.  Caregivers not only learn a wide range of information about serious mental illness they also learn to understand how living with these conditions affects their loved one.


Each course:

  • Meets weekly for 11 weeks (for about 3 hours each evening)
  • Is offered FREE of charge
  • Is taught by trained NAMI Family members who have relatives with mental illness
  • Follows a structured format covering issues frequently faced by families dealing with mental illness.

The Course teaches the knowledge and skills that family members need to cope more effectively.


Why attend the Family-to-Family Education Program

  • Attend with other family members just like you in a confidential setting
  • Gain insight into how mental illness affects your relative
  • Take an eye-opening look inside some of today’s current brain research related to mental illness
  • learn how families can become advocates for better treatments for their relatives
  • Learn about the mediation issues involved in mental illness and the latest treatment options
  • Learn to cope with worry and stress; learn to focus on care for you as well as your loved ones.


Who can attend a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course?

Courses are open to ALL caregivers of adults with mental illness. Everyone is a valued participant!


How do I sign up for a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course?

For the most up-to-date course locations and information,

or register for the next course,

contact Leslie O’Rourke at Peer Support South East Ontario

Office 613-969-0122, or Cell 613-922-1135

or by email at

NAMI Service Provider Education Program

A staff development program specifically for healthcare professionals who work directly with individuals living with mental illness.

As a healthcare professional, it’s important to understand the unique challenges experienced by the individual and their entire family when facing a mental health challenge: social isolation, complex family dynamics and the unpredictable aspects of the illness.

The presenters of the class have experienced mental health firsthand.  You will learn why a partnership with the individual and their family is important in their wellness and recovery.

NAMI Provider Education gives you the tools necessary to combine the recovery model with the medical model to better serve your clients.


What should I know?

  • Open to any adult working in the mental health field: professionals, lay professionals and administrative staff
  • FREE of cost to participants
  • Meets for five sessions (generally once weekly for about 3 hours each time)
  • Led by a team of individuals living with mental illness, family members and mental health professionals


Why should I attend?

  • Gain understanding and empathy for an individual experiencing a mental health crisis and their families, especially in the areas of treatment
  • Learn to successfully apply the concept of collaboration between the individuals, their family and the mental health staff
  • Understand the predictable emotional stages individuals with mental illness and their families’ experience


How do I sign up for a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course?

For the most up-to-date course locations and information,

or register for the next course,

contact Leslie O’Rourke at Peer Support South East Ontario

Office 613-969-0122, or Cell 613-922-1135

or by email at

These courses come are provided Free of Charge and offered by
The Family and Caregiver Support Network and
Peer Support South East Ontario.

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