NAMI Basics

What is NAMI Basics?

  • An interactive six-session course designed for any parent or primary caregiver of a youth (age 21 and younger) with a mental health condition. The child doesn’t need to have an official diagnosis.
  • Taught by trained teachers who are also parents or other family caregivers to a person who experienced symptoms of a mental health condition before the age of 13
  • NAMI Basics does not recommend or endorse any medications or other medical therapies
  • NAMI Basics is copyrighted 

The goals of NAMI Basics are to:

  • Develop a community of support
  • Provide practical, current information about mental health conditions
  • Provide tools to effectively advocate for the child within school and mental health systems
  • Develop problem-solving and communication skills
  • Give participants the information they need to be more effective caregivers
  • Help participants take care of their entire family — especially themselves 

Two research studies have been conducted on NAMI Basics

  • A 2008 study conducted by Missouri State University psychologist Dr. Paul Deal found that parents/caregivers who took the NAMI Basics course reported knowing more about the symptoms, assessment and treatment of mental illness than they did before taking the course. The study also found that these parents felt better about themselves as caregivers after taking the course.
  • A 2009-2010 study conducted by Dr. Kimberly Hoagwood of Columbia University and Dr. Barbara Burns of Duke Medical Center found that parents who took the NAMI Basics course reported taking better care of themselves, feeling more capable of advocating for their children and being able to communicate more effectively with their children after taking the course. The results of this study were published on May 6, 2011 in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.  

What is the community scope and reach of NAMI Basics?

  • Launched in 2007
  • Available in 43 states*
  • More than 2,500 volunteer parents/caregivers have been trained to lead NAMI Basics*
  • More than 20,000 people have completed the NAMI Basics course*

* As of Dec 2018

What are people saying about NAMI Basics?

  • “I wish this course was available when my child was first experiencing difficulty. ”
  • “This program rescues parents and children and may improve the school system, mental health (public and private) system and the juvenile justice system as parents are empowered with information and confidence.”
  • “This class was unexpectedly wonderful! I did not expect to learn so very, very much! It covers so much more than basics that the title doesn’t do it justice.”
  • “This is such a great step by step program that walks parents every step of the way. It is as if you are holding their hand through it all.” 

NAMI Basics trainings are typically held in the fall, winter, and spring. Want to be notified of future trainings? Sign up here. Do you have a question that is not answered here? Contact Michele Watson to learn more.

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