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 non-profit organization that providesFREE support services for family/ caregivers of individuals who have mental health challenges. We ourselves are families who support a loved one with mental illness.

Our monthly family support group provides a space to connect with individuals who also support and care for someone living with mental health challenges. The "Family Support Group" schedule can be found on the CALENDAR tab above.

NAMI: Family to Family Education Program
(National Alliance on Mental Illness) Free 12-week educational program for families whose loved one is living with mental health challenges. NAMI is designed to facilitate a better understanding of severe mental illnesses with an emphasis on coping strategies, problem-solving, connection and advocacy.

The curriculum focuses on 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. 

For more information or to REGISTER for the education classes please contact:

Cheryl 519-344-5602

Lambton Mental Wellness Centre