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The fundamentals of caring for you, your family and your child

NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of children and teens whom are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or whom have already been diagnosed. NAMI Basics is offered in a group setting so you can connect with other people face-to-face.

You’ll learn the facts about mental health conditions and how best to support your child at home, at school and when they’re getting medical care. Last year, 99% of participants told us they would recommend the program to other parents.

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 provides critical strategies for taking care of your child and learning the ropes of recovery.

What You Gain

NAMI Basics covers:

  • Managing crises, solving problems and communicating effectively
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress
  • Developing the confidence and stamina to support your child with compassion
  • Advocating for your child’s rights at school and in health care settings
  • Learning about current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects
  • Gaining an overview of the public mental health care, school and juvenile justice systems
  • Understanding the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on your entire family

Why You Should Attend

A toolkit of information

  • Up-to-date information on a range of mental illnesses and their impact on the brain.
  • Current research on treatments including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects.
  • Preparation for interactions with the mental health care system, school system and juvenile justice system.

Training in preparedness and emotional resiliency

  • Skills related to managing crises, solving problems and communicating effectively.
  • Strategies for self-care and for navigating the challenges presented by mental illness for each family member.
  • Empowerment as an effective advocate for your child.
  • Confidence and stamina for life-long understanding and support.

A community

Perhaps most importantly, as a participant you can gain comfort in knowing you are not alone. Recovery is a journey and there is hope for all families and individuals dealing with a brain disorder. The in-person group experience of NAMI Basics provides the opportunity for mutual support and positive impact. You can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who relate to your experiences. Through your participation, you have the opportunity to help others grow.

Fall 2015 Class

Classes meet for 2.5 hours for 6 weeks. Registration is required.

 Tuesdays, October 6 – November 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Austin Child Guidance Center, 810 W. 45th St.

To register for a NAMI Basics class, please contact the office or download the NAMI Basics Registration Form (DOC here and PDF here) and e-mail it to [info] at [namiaustin] dot [org]. If you are in crisis and feel the need for support, we would encourage you to attend one of our Family Support Groups. 

NAMI Basics Training ~ Fall 2015

Dates: October 17 – 18, 2015

Location: Austin State Hospital

Schedule: 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. each day

  • Training, materials and meals provided at no cost.
  • Prospective teachers must be parents or primary caregivers of an individual who exhibited symptoms of a mental illness prior to age 13.
  • Prospective teachers do not have to be graduates of a NAMI Basics course.
  • Prospective teachers must commit to teaching at least two classes within a two year period.

Click here to download an application. Applicants are required to submit an application and participate in a phone interview with a NAMI Basics state trainer to confirm applicant meets required criteria to teach. For more information, contact our Child and Youth Program Coordinator, Jessica Miller at jessica[dot]miller@namiaustin [dot]org or call 512-374-1335.

Resources for Families

Ask the Doctor

NAMI’s Medical Director, Dr. Ken Duckworth, answers a few of the most commonly asked questions by parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents with mental illness. View the video!

Kids in the House: the Ultimate Parenting Resource 

Search and learn from over 8,000 videos from top experts and parents, include NAMI’s Medical Director, Dr. Ken Duckworth.

Sample Record Keeping System

NAMI Child and Adolescent Center (CAAC): Information for Parents and Other Caregivers

Families Share Their Thoughts on Effective Communication

The Family Experience with Primary Care Physicians and Staff

Starting a Conversation on Children’s Mental Health

Understanding Your Child’s Anxiety-infographic

Lost at School by Dr. Ross W. Greene, Ph. D – How We Can Help Kids with Behavioral Challenges

Lives in the Balance – Non Profit by Dr. Greene with Free Resources