NAMI Basics is a free, six-session program designed for parents and other family caregivers of children and adolescents experiencing mental health challenges. NAMI North Texas is now offering this class for professionals to help them better understand the impact that mental health conditions have on the youth as well as the family. The information provided will equip professionals working with youth and their families with unique insights that can enable them to work more collaboratively with families as part of the treatment team, as well as help them understand the value of referring their clients to NAMI Basics.
"What is the difference between a “regular” NAMI Basics class and a NAMI Basics for Professionals class provided to professionals?"
There is no difference in content. All 6 sessions are taught in their entirety, by trained NAMI Basics teachers. The following modifications are made when the audience is professional caregivers:
During the discussion portions of the classes, Basics teachers share what parents tell us when we pose the discussion topics.
Discussion question: “How did it feel for you when you finally had a diagnosis for your child’s symptoms?”
Basics teacher response: “For me it was a relief. Other parents who have taken this course tell us that it is helpful to finally have a name for what is going on; to know that there actually is something causing the behavior and that it can be treated.”
During story sharing, participants are asked to share a story about their experiences with a child that they have worked with and how it impacted them.
"Can’t I just take a regular NAMI Basics class with parents?"
We never allow anyone into our peer education programs (Basics, Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, or Homefront) who does not have the lived experience. This is to insure a safe, judgment-free environment for participants to be open and honest about their emotional reactions to the challenges of mental health conditions.
"Why do we offer a 6 session class to busy professionals?"
When NAMI Basics classes are advertised in community, routinely there are requests from teachers, counselors, youth court staff, child protective services staff and other professionals to attend so that they can learn more about the families they are working with. Because these requests are so common, approval was given to pilot the course, as it is written, with professionals in NAMI New York City Metro several years ago. It was such a success that they offer this option several times a year. It has resulted in a better equipped group of professional caregivers, and has also increased the number of families referred by these professionals to the NAMI Basics classes for parents.