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nami basics

NAMI Basics is an education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses.  The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years.

The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours.   Classes may be offered weekly for six consecutive weeks, or may be offered twice per week for three weeks to accommodate hectic schedules. All instruction materials are FREE to participants.

If you’re interested in taking a class, review the current schedule of classes offered below and please contact the teacher listed to get details. Preregistration is required since space is limited. If you’re interested in taking a class, and none are available in your area, please contact Judi Maguire, Director of Children and Adolescent Programs at 800-370-9085 or jmaguire@namimass.org.

City/Town Date/Time Contact Info


 Dee Feeba: cell 978-697-3441 

or deefebba@comcast.net 

Judy Melillo at 978-264-4291 



April 3 – May 8

Deb Pacheco goldilocksdeb@msn.com 

or 978-879-7046 

Martha Heassler martha@heassler.com 

or 978 337 9900 



Basics flyer in Spanish 202.214

llame a María Gerena a 413-210-7590

o romanbrendan@gmail.com



April 4 – May 23

9:45 am – 12:15 pm


 Beth 776-573-4486 or bcrevi@aol.com

Cindi 508-248-1638  

or cscrimgeour@gmail.com



April 3 – May 8

Mlmollica@comcast.net or 617-510-9165 

Do you want to teach NAMI Basics?

  • Are you a parent who wants to help other parents?
  • Are you the parent of a child with mental illness?
  • Are you ready to share your experiences with other parents?
  • Are you willing to spend a weekend training to teach our NAMI Basics Program?

NAMI Massachusetts, the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is offering a free training to parents who would like the opportunity to reach out to other parents. You should be in a position to be able to teach the program to others for six weeks on a voluntary basis. If you are interested, please contact Judi Maguire, Director of Children and Adolescent Programs at (617) 580-8541 x 211 or jmaguire@namimass.org. Basics teachers need to have cared for their child with Mental Illness, and be prepared to share their experiences with others. You will need to fill out an application form and be interviewed by one of the class instructors.

NAMI Basics Teacher Training Weekend in Plymouth, March 2013.

NAMI Basics Teacher Training Weekend in Plymouth, March 2013.

Click here to view a video of the NAMI Basics Teacher Training Weekend in Plymouth, March 2013.


Video by Dr. Kenneth Duckworth, NAMI Medical Director on the Benefits of NAMI Basics course

NAMI is pleased to announce the publication of a recent research study on the NAMI Basics Education Program in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. The study was conducted in collaboration with NAMI Mississippi and NAMI Tennessee between 2008 and 2010 and found that NAMI Basics produces “significant improvement” for families in communication and coping skills. Specifically, the study found that:

  • Parents and caregivers who participated in the study reported improvements in self-care and empowerment, based on information and about resources, parenting strategies and self-advocacy.
  • Participants “also experienced a reduction in inflammatory communications,” through control of anger, preemption of problems, and being highly specific about expectations.
  • Participants did not report changes in “affirmational communications” within the family. However, this may simply reflect the emphasis of the curriculum.

Testimonials for NAMI Basics

 Click here to view the video by Jay Gaylen, Parent, about NAMI Basics

What are the goals of the NAMI Basics program?

  1. To give the parent/caregiver the basic information necessary to take the best care possible of their child, their family, and themselves.
  2. To help the parent/caregiver cope with the impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family.
  3. To provide tools for the parent/caregiver to use even after completing the program that will assist in making the best decisions possible for the care of the child.

 What does the course include?

  • Introduction to the stages of emotional reactions of the family to the mental illness; including crisis, shock, denial, grief and acceptance.
  • Insights into understanding of the lived experience of the child living with the mental illness, including learning to separate the child you love from the illness that alters their behavior and abilities
  • Current information about Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Childhood Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Current research related to the biology of mental illness and the evidence-based, most effective treatment strategies available, including medications used to treat mental illness in children and adolescents
  • Specific workshops to learn problem solving, listening and communication skills
  • Examples of strategies that have been found helpful in handling challenging behaviors in children and adolescents
  • Information about the systems that are major players in the lives of children and adolescents with mental illness – the school system and the mental health system
  • Exposure to personal record keeping systems that have proven to be effective for parents/caregivers in their interactions with the school and healthcare systems
  • Information on planning for crisis management and relapse
  • Information on locating appropriate supports and services within the community to build a community of support for the parent/caregiver
  • Information on advocacy initiatives designed to improve and expand services, with an emphasis on personal advocates for the parent/caregiver and child on an individual level

NAMI Basics is now available in 36 states. To see the complete study please visit the NAMI Basics Web page. For more information about the NAMI Basics education program click here:

Click here to watch/listen to a NAMI Basics program outreach video