12-week course taught by two trained volunteer teachers who themselves have a family member or loved one with a mental illness. In 2013, Family-to-Family was added to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

The Family-to-Family course is an evidence based 12-week class designed for family members of individuals who have a serious and persistent brain disorder. The course, which is offered at no cost to participants, “significantly” improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of family members, according to a study published in Psychiatric Services, a journal published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Led by Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the study found that the class increases both knowledge about mental illness and “empowerment within the family, the service system and the community.” The course offers “concrete practical benefits” and demonstrates the value of free, community-based self-help programs as a “complement” to professional mental health services, the authors of the study noted.

The course is taught by two trained volunteers, with lived experience as a family member or friend of someone living with mental illness. The curriculum focuses on five major psychiatric illnesses: schizophrenia, major depression, mania, panic / anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder. The course emphasizes the clinical treatment of these illnesses and teaches skills that family members need when faced with the challenges surrounding mental illness.

Before I took the course, I felt alone and overwhelmed dealing with my daughter’s mental illness. By taking this course, I have met others who are going through the same things I am and have learned about many resources that I never knew existed.

Family-to-Family Course Overview

Week 1

  • Learning about feelings and learning about facts

Week 2

  • Schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, diagnosis, critical periods

Week 3

  • Depression, mania, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders, diagnosis and causes

Week 4

  • Basics about the brain

Week 5

  • Problem-solving skills workshop

Week 6

  • Medication review

Week 7

  • What it’s like to be mentally ill: empathy workshop

Week 8

  • Communications skills workshop

Week 9

  • Support groups and self-care

Week 10

  • Rehabilitation and potential for recovery

Week 11

  • Advocacy: fighting stigma

Week 12

  • Review, evaluation, certification and celebration


What does NAMI Seattle stand for and what is its vision and mission?

NAMI Seattle, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Seattle affiliate, is one of the founding affiliates of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans impacted by mental illness NAMI. NAMI Seattle provides support, education and advocacy and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.

Mission: To address the unmet mental health needs within our community through support, referral, education, and outreach.

Vision: A world where all those impacted by mental illness know they are not alone, and are empowered to live a fulfilling life.

How can I become a NAMI member? What are the benefits of membership?

We would be pleased to welcome you to the family of NAMI Seattle members!

Click here to learn more about NAMI Seattle membership. The annual dues are $35/year (or a reduced rate of $3/year for those with financial need).

The benefits of a membership include continued support of NAMI Seattle's free programs to all those in need, a copy of our quarterly newsletter, first invitations to our new speaker series, the NAMI Advocate magazine, discounts on resources in the NAMI store, discounts at NAMI’s Annual Convention, and full access to all the information and features at nami.org.

I am part of a community agency, how do I obtain NAMI Seattle materials to share?>

A part of NAMI's is mission to educate the public about mental illnesses. NAMI Seattleoffers our brochure and fact sheets on a variety of topics, including particular mental disorders, crisis worksheets and resources.

NAMI Seattle's Helpline provides a limited number of paper resources at no charge. To keep costs down and to provide materials to the greatest number of people, it is necessary to limit the number of publications we provide.

Contact the Helpline for more information.

Do you offer programs and literature in other languages?

NAMI Seattle's Resource Card is currently available in Spanish as well as English. Some NAMI programs (including Family-to-Family) are periodically available in Spanish; please contact us to learn more. 

If you would be interested in volunteering to translate any of our resources into a non-English language, we would love your help!

I recently moved. How do I update or remove my contact info from NAMI's mailing list?

If you are a member and you know your username and password, you can log in to www.nami.org and make the changes easily on your own.

You may also email us or call 206-783-9264.

Where can I find statistics about mental health conditions?

You can see some statistics and other information about mental health conditions here.