Lambton Mental Wellness Centre

Mental Health Peer and Family Support Programs

NAMI Family-Family Class Outline:

CLASS 1: Introduction: Special features of the course; learning about the normative stages of our emotional reactions to the trauma of mental illness; our belief system and principles; your goals for your family member; understanding illness symptoms.

CLASS 2: Understanding Schizophrenia and Mood Episodes; characteristic features of psychotic illnesses; questions and answers about getting through critical periods in mental illness; keeping a crisis file.

CLASS 3: Mood-Episodes, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Concurrent Disorder, Types and sub-types of Mood Episodes; Diagnostic criteria for illnesses. Telling our stories.

CLASS 4: Basics about the brain: Functions of key brain areas; research on functional and structural brain abnormalities in the major mental illnesses; genetic revolution in biological psychiatry; genetic transmission of major mental illnesses; infectious and neurodevelopmental “second hits” which may cause mental illness; the biology of recovery; individual stages of recovery from brain disorders

CLASS 5: Problem Solving Workshop: How to define a problem; sharing our problem statements; solving the problem; setting limits.

CLASS 6: Medication review: How medications work; basic psychopharmacology of the mood disorders, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia; medication side effects; key treatment issues; stages of adherence to medications; early warning signs of relapse

CLASS 7: Empathy-Inside Mental Illness: Understanding the subjective experience of coping with a brain disorder; problems in maintaining self-esteem and positive identity; gaining empathy for the psychological struggles to protect ones integrity in mental illness

CLASS 8: Communication Skills Workshop: How illness interferes with the capacity to communicate; learning to be clear; how to respond when the topic is loaded; talking to the person behind the symptoms of the illness.

CLASS 9: Self-Care: Learning about family burden; sharing in relative groups; handling negative feelings of anger, entrapment, guilt and grief; how to balance our lives

CLASS 10: The vision of Potential of Recovery: learning about key principles of rehabilitation and model programs of community support; a first-person account of recovery from a guest speaker ( an individual living with mental health challenges).

CLASS 11: Advocacy: Challenging the power of stigma in our lives; learning how to change the system; meet and hear from people advocating for change.

CLASS 12: Review, Sharing and Evaluation; Certification ceremony


Lambton Family Initiative (LFI) is a program of Lambton Mental Wellness Centre that provides FREE support services for family/caregivers of individuals who have mental health challenges. We ourselves are families who support a loved one with mental illness.

Peer support for individuals caring for a loved one with mental illness.  The evening drop-in group runs every third Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 pm.

The NAMI Family to Family Education program is a FREE 12-week course for family/caregivers (spouses, parents, siblings, children, etc.) of individuals with severe brain disorders (mental illness). The program is structured to help family members understand and support their relative while maintaining their own well-being.
The curriculum includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Families learn to understand how living with these conditions affects their loved one, as well as learning new skills to cope more effectively. 

Does someone you know experience difficulty regulating his/her emotions? People who experience emotion dysregulation often have intense feelings of sadness - shame - anger - anxiety - impulsivity - fluctuating moods. This often leaves family members and friends at a loss of how to support, respond and intervene.
FAMILY CONNECTIONS© is a free, skills-based program, designed specifically for family members and friends. FAMILY CONNECTIONS© teaches Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) skills to manage our own emotional reactions to situations and our relationships.


Supporting Family and Friends of those with mental health challenges: (In partnership with Community Law School Sarnia Lambton).
This program will help improve the legal literacy for families and friends of those living with mental health challenges. Topics include substitute decision making, powers of attorney, estate planning, assessment and hospitalization of their loved one, consent to treatment, community treatment orders, as well as privacy rights.