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Families & Caregivers


When a friend or loved one developes a mental health condition, it's important to know that you're not alone.  Family members and caregivers often play a large role in helping and supporting the millions of people in the U.S. who experience mental health conditions each year.  Many family members and caregivers experience the same thoughts and questions you might be having now.


We realize that the challenges of mental illness do not only affect an individual’s family members but also friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers, and others in the community. Here we use the terms family member and caregiver interchangeably to refer to someone giving emotional, financial, or practical support to a person with a mental health condition. Whether you’re providing a lot of assistance or very little, the information here can help you better understand the issues that you might face.


Across the country, thousands of trained NAMI volunteers bring peer-led programs to a wide variety of community settings, from churches to schools to NAMI Affiliates. With the unique understanding of people with lived experience, these programs and support groups provide outstanding free education, skills training, and support.  Find a free, peer-led support group or class near you.


Resources for Families, Friends, and Caregivers


NAMI has partnered with the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) to create "Circle of Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers".  This guidebook emerged from the national study on mental health caregiving, "On Pins and Needles: Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness."  This study's findings were released in February 2016.  It was the first national survey of mental health caregivers conducted in the United State, and it identified numerous challenges faced by these caregivers.


Download Circle Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers

Download On Pins and Needles: Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness


Parent CRAFT is an online video course that teaches parents the skills they need to meet the risks of substance abuse. This course is free for residents of Maryland and designed for parents who know their child is abusing and want help getting their child to accept treatment.


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