NAMI Basics

NAMI Basics is now offered On-Demand! For more information, visit: 

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NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of children and youth who are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition 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. 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 resiliency and recovery.

Program Goals

At NAMI Basics, you’ll find out that you’re not alone. Learning to cope with your child’s mental health condition is a journey, and there is hope. The group setting of NAMI Basics provides mutual support and shared positive impact—you can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. You also can help others with your own experience.

NAMI Basics covers:

  • Managing crises, solving problems and communicating effectively
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress
  • Developing the confidence and stamina to support your child with compassion
  • Advocating for your child’s rights at school and in health care settings
  • Learning about current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects
  • Gaining an overview of the public mental health care, school and juvenile justice systems
  • Understanding the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on your entire family

Who Leads the Program

A NAMI Basics teacher is a trained NAMI leader. They play an important role in ensuring that all participants feel welcomed and supported. NAMI Basics teachers are uniquely qualified to lead a class because they too are parents who have a child or youth with mental health needs. Teachers therefore can empathize with and encourage those who are just beginning, or continuing their journey. A NAMIBasics teacher ensures that the class achieve educational objectives.

What People are Saying about the Program

“This is such a great step by step program that walks parents every step of the way. It is as if you are holding their hand through it all.”

“The course is inclusive of almost all aspects of family and child resources. I could have spent a lifetime getting all this information on my own. I feel supported, strong and ready to go forward.”

How to Find the Program in your Community

Find your Local NAMI
If you do not have a NAMI affiliate in your county, please contact our state office at (608) 268-6000 or

How to Give Back

NAMI Basics 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 facilitation skills to ensure participants experiences a safe learning environment. Teacher trainees are required to go through an application and screening process before being approved to attend a training event.

Support a local NAMI Basics program in your community. Our classes utilize volunteers and we are always in need of free spaces to host classes, promotional assistance and monetary or in-kind donations to offset the costs of materials, trainings and refreshments.

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