In light of the recent Naval Yard shooting, “60 Minutes” aired a segment titled “Untreated Mental Illness an Imminent Danger?” which featured an interview with Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center.  NAMI Austin encourages its members and supporters to watch this important segment!

NAMI Austin is excited to offer at least five more offerings of its Family-to-Family classes in the Austin area this fall.  In May, the national office of NAMI announced that the Family-to-Family Program had been added to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

As Executive Director, Michael Fitzpatrick pointed out, “It is an affirmation of one of NAMI’s signature education programs, established over 20 years ago, which to date has already helped more than 300,000 family members of people living with mental illness.”

Family-to-Family is a free 12-session course taught by other family members who have received intensive training for its presentation. Instruction and course materials are provided free to class participants.

Class topics include:

  • Current information about schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • borderline personality disorder, and co-occurring brain disorders and addictive disorders.
  • Up-to-date information about medications, side effects, and strategies for medication adherence.
  • Current research related to the biology of brain disorders and evidence-based treatments o promote recovery.
  • Gaining empathy by understanding the subjective, lived experience of a person with mental illness.
  • Problem solving, listening, and communication techniques.
  • Acquiring strategies for handling mental health crises and relapse.
  • Focusing on care for the caregiver: coping with worry, stress, and emotional overload.
  • Guidance on locating appropriate supports and services within the community.
  • Information on advocacy initiatives designed to improve and expand mental health services.

NAMI Austin’s schedule for the fall includes classes beginning on the following dates at various locations: September 5 (for families of veterans), September 11 (two classes, one in Spanish), September 16 and September 17.  For more information, call the office at 512-420-9810 or e-mail info [at] namiaustin [dot] org. REGISTRATION is required.  Please fill out this Family-to-Family Registration Form and return it to the office.

We had beautiful weather and great entertainment (Lonnie Key and the Texas Connection), Minis and Friends, fun contests (NAMI Barks and NAMI Wheels), face-painting, wonderful volunteers, FUNdraisers, walkers, sponsors, and Honorary Chairs (Sheriff Greg Hamilton, Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Judge Nancy Hohengarten.)

Our photographer, Jorge Reyes, took lots of pictures and we will share those soon.

Our Media Sponsor, FOX 7 (click to see the video!), news gave us great coverage with Keri Bellacosa as our MC for the Walk.  This year we also added an announcer, Cynthia Croft, who helped keep everyone informed about the morning’s activities.

Together, we raised $258,000 of our $265,000 goal, making NAMI Austin one of only two Walks in the country achieving 97% of their goal. THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this day so successful and festive.

NAMI Austin President, Adrienne Kennedy, with Honorary Walk Chairs Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Sheriff Greg Hamilton, and Judge Nancy Hohengarten


As a trained Family-to-Family teacher, I have both witnessed and experienced the life-changing effect that sharing in knowledge with a group of people who know exactly what the experience of caring for an individual with mental illness is like can have. For me, it was remarkable how enlightening and freeing it was to externalize the thoughts and feelings that otherwise would have been so isolating and scary.

This aspect of NAMI’s Family-to-Family program is highlighted in a new video:

Have you been through the NAMI Family-to-Family program? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.


Former Website

The NAMI Austin website has been redesigned and updated to better reflect the purpose and value of the the NAMI organization—to be a beacon of light, help, and hope to individuals and families when they need a place to turn. The calendars on the site will stay up-to-date with the latest program and meeting information, and the blog (you’re looking at it!) will be a one-stop-shop for the latest and greatest in dynamic goings-on within the organization and beyond. Look forward to more posts, photos, and videos that provide a glimpse into the highly-dedicated community that makes up NAMI Austin.

To-be-appreciated social media volunteers will also be regularly engaging with followers and friends of NAMI Austin’s newly created Twitter and Facebook accounts. Stay tuned!