Family-to-Family is a free, 12-week course for families, partners and friends of individuals with serious mental illness. 


The course dwells on the emotional responses families have to the trauma of mental illness; many family members describe their experience in the program as life-changing.


The course topics in the 12-week course are:  Learning about feelings and facts: The normative stages of emotional reactions to the trauma of mental illness; NAMI’s belief systems and principles; individual goals for the family member with mental illness.

Topics covered in the course:


  • Schizophrenia, Major Depression, Mania, Schizoaffective Disorder - Diagnostic criteria, characteristic features of psychotic illnesses, clinical treatment, dealing with critical periods in mental illness, keeping a Crisis File.

  • Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders - Types and subtypes of Depression and Bipolar Disorder (formerly called manic depression), causes of mood disorders, diagnostic criteria for Panic Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, clinical treatment, sharing stories of the attendees.

  • Functions of key brain areas - Research on brain abnormalities in the major mental illnesses, chemical messengers in the brain, genetic research, infectious and developmental factors involved in mental illness, the biology of recovery.

  • Problem-Solving Skills Workshop - How to define a problem, problem-solving, setting limits.

  • Medication Review - How medications work, basic psychopharmacology, medication side-effects, key treatment issues, stages of adherence to medications, early warning signs of relapse.

  • Inside Mental Illness - Understanding the subjective experience of coping with a brain disorder, problems in maintaining self-esteem and positive identity, gaining empathy.

  • Communication Skills Workshop - How illness interferes with the capacity to communicate, how to respond when the topic is loaded, talking to the person behind the symptoms of mental illness.

  • Self-Care - Learning about family burden, sharing in relative groups, handling negative feelings of anger, entrapment, guilt and grief, how to balance our lives.

  • The Vision of Potential Recovery - Learning about key principles of rehabilitation and model programs of community support, local and other services available, a first-person account of recovery.

  • Advocacy - Challenging the power of stigma, learning how to change the system, and how families unite together against this disability.


For specific questions, please contact




NAMI Family-to-Family classes are being scheduled for Spring 2020!

Please sign up here to be notified first!


  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

Ph: (415) 237-0039

Mailing Address

601 Van Ness, Suite Q

San Francisco, CA 94102