NAMI Basics

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NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week class for parents and family caregivers of children and teens who are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, or have been diagnosed.

NAMI Basics happens in a real-life group setting so you can connect with other people face-to-face.

This course is also available in Spanish, Bases y Fundamentos de NAMI.

You’ll learn facts about mental health conditions, and how best to support your child at home, at school, and when they’re getting medical care.

Whether you and your child are dealing with behavioral issues, undiagnosed emotional issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other diagnoses such as major depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder (also called “manic depressive disorder”), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), substance use disorders, or more, NAMI Basics will help.

The course is taught by a trained team with lived experience—they know what you’re going through because they’ve been there. The 6-session program teaches strategies for taking care of your child, and learning the ropes of recovery.

NAMI Basics covers:

  • How to manage crises, solve problems, and communicate effectively.
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress.
  • How to develop the confidence and stamina to support your child with compassion.
  • How to advocate for your child’s rights – at school, and when they’re getting medical care.
  • Current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications, and side effects.
  • The impact and trauma of mental illness for the child and family. It impacts siblings, caregivers, etc – so how do you understand it, and what can you do to help.
  • The biology of mental illness: getting an accurate diagnosis.
  • The latest research on medical aspects of the illness and advances in treatment.
  • An overview of the systems you’ll need to help your child navigate – school, health care, and maybe juvenile justice.

Sign Up Now

Classes are offered during the week – mornings, afternoons, and evenings – and on Saturdays.  To learn more about – and to register for – the next NAMI Basics course, please contact the Helpline.  Call or email. 212-684-3264 or

What You’ll Gain

You’ll find out you’re not alone.

You’ll learn that recovery is a journey, and that there is hope.

The NAMI Basics group setting provides mutual support and shared positive impact. Experience compassion and encouragement from people who understand your situation—and help others with your own experience.

“Basics is…well, it’s a life-changer.” A parent who took Basics said this.  Watch this video and hear more, from real people, about what a difference Basics made in their family.

NAMI Basics

Does your child have mental health issues?

NAMI Basics Education Program Curriculum

Class 1: It’s not your fault; Mental illnesses are brain disorders

Learn about the normative stages of our emotional reactions to the trauma of mental illness; our belief system and principles; recognizing that mental illnesses are biological brain disorders.

Class 2: The biology of Mental Illness; getting an accurate diagnosis

An overview of human development; specifics of brain development; current research on brain mechanisms involved in mental illness in children and adolescents; overview of the diagnostic process; and overview of the types and subtypes of major mental illnesses that can develop in childhood and adolescence (ADHD, ODD, CD, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, OCD, and Substance Use Disorders).

Class 3: Treatment Works

Tell your story; overview of treatment options available; explanation of evidence-based practice designations; review of various types of mental health professionals in the field; overview of medication as a treatment option for children and adolescents, including the current debate within the field on the subject of treating children and adolescents with medications, including black box warnings.

Class 4: Objective and subjective family burden

Acknowledge the strains of family burden and the impact of mental illness on each family member; learn various skills to improve day to day communications within the family as well as during episodes of crisis; communication skills, problem solving skills, tips for handling challenging behavior, crisis preparation and response, developing a relapse plan

Class 5: The systems involved with your child and the importance of record keeping

Learn how to keep records on your child; review a sample record keeping system; overview of the systems your child may be involved with including the mental health system, the school system, and the juvenile justice system; introduction to issues that will arise as your child reaches adulthood

Class 6: Advocacy, and Sharing

How to build an advocacy team for your child; meet people who are resources for you in advocating for your child;  join NAMI in the fight to end discrimination and ensure access to appropriate treatment services; a graduation party!

Contact us for more info

Call or email – 212-684-3264 or