National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Education Programs Offered by NAMI State & Affiliate Offices with a Youth Focus

Education Programs Designed for Families & Caregivers

The following is a list of programs that have either been developed by or are currently being used by NAMI state and affiliate offices around the country. It is quite possible that we have overlooked some excellent programs that are targeted toward familes with youth who are affected by mental illnesses and have been developed by our state and affiliate offices. If so, please notify us at the NAMI Child & Adolescent Action Center by contacting Dana at  so that we can update our list.

To see if any of the programs below are offered near you, contact your  NAMI state and affiliate offices. If you are interested in starting up one of these programs in your community use the contact information provided under each program.

Hand to Hand - Developed by NAMI Greater Toledo, Ohio

Hand to Hand is an eight-week education program designed to foster learning, healing and empowerment among families of children with emotional/mental/neurobiological disorders. This course is similar to the Family-to-Family education program in structure and goals, with each week of the curriculum dedicated to a particular aspect of having a child with a mental illness. Topics covered include: understanding your child's diagnosis; developing family coping skills; counseling and therapy; medications; special educational needs; and juvenile justice and child protection agencies. Guidance on locating appropriate support and services within the community and obtaining better mental health services as well as advocacy for appropriate federal and state policies are also included. To find out more about the course visit the NAMI Ohio website or contact the affiliate.

Web address:
: NAMI Ohio at 614.224.2700 or email

Visions for Tomorrow - Developed with the support of NAMI Texas

Visions for Tomorrow consists of a series of workshops for parents and direct primary caregivers of children and adolescents with mental illnesses. Teachers of the program are trained family members who have experienced firsthand the rewards and challenges of raising children with brain disorders. The course offers parents and caregivers an opportunity to share mutual experiences and learn valuable lessons from one another in a supportive environment. Young families are educated on accessing school services, IDEA, and other resources. Also included in the program are skills-building workshops in communication, problem management, coping, self-care, rehabilitation, transition, the recovery cycle, and advocacy. The program has been widely disseminated and used by many NAMI state and affiliate offices across the country. The program continues to grow as NAMI state and affiliate leaders use it as a tool to reach families with children with mental illnesses. For more information on the program, please visit the NAMI Texas website or contact their office.

Web address:
: NAMI Texas at 1.800.633.3760 or email

Out of the Shadows – NAMI Maine

This program is a ten-week training session for young families that have a child living with a mental illness. It was developed by licensed clinicians and family members living with mental illnesses. The information contained in this course will help family members cope with the illness, improve their understanding of mental illnesses and find support of other families in similar situations. Out of the Shadows provides an overview of the child’s rights in the educational and mental health system and tactics for negotiating the system to get the help your child needs.  For more information or to find out if this course will be taught in your area, contact NAMI Maine.

Web address:
Contact: NAMI Maine at 207.622.5767 or email

School-based Education Programs

Breaking the Silence (BTS) - Developed by NAMI Queens/Nassau

This program includes classroom lesson plans for grades four through 12 that are designed to destigmatize mental illnesses. The curriculum meets national health education standards and fulfills the Safe Schools against Violence in Education Act (SAVE) by promoting tolerance, anti-bullying and character development. Through the curriculum, students learn that mental illnesses are real illnesses and not a character flaw.  They learn about the warning signs of mental illnesses as well as that mental illnesses are treatable. Students are also taught how to fight the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.   Please visit the BTS website for more information.

Web address:
Contact: NAMI Queens/Nassau at 516.326.0797 or email

Hope for Tomorrow - Developed by NAMI Utah

Hope for Tomorrow is a mental health education program for parents, teachers, students and all who work with children and adolescents. The program is designed to provideinformation and life skills training to youth by combining the efforts of parents, teachers and the community to equip children to better deal with life today and tomorrow through mental well being. The program consists of three parts: Part 1 is an introduction to mental health; Part 2 covers eating disorders; and Part 3 discusses addictive disorders. Each part of the program includes a teacher in-service; a parent/community forum; a student assembly and a student lunchtime forum.  For more information on the program, please visit NAMI Utah’s website or contact the organization.

Web address:
Contact: NAMI Utah at 801.323.9900 or email

Better Today’s, Better Tomorrow’s (Formerly Red Flags) - Developed by NAMI Idaho

This program is designed to help parents identify emotional and behavioral problems in middle school and high school students and to assist families in getting help. Better Today’s, Better Tomorrow’s Idaho provides free informational presentations and materials to parents; free information and training to teachers, school counselors and nurses; a free in-service training for teachers; free copies of the Better Today’s, Better Tomorrow’s curriculum and the video “Claire’s Story;” a free in-class curriculum for middle and high school students; and other resources. For more information on the program, please visit the NAMI Idaho website.

Web Address:
NAMI Idaho at 866.572.9940 or