Youth & Family Programs


Youth and Family Programs

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14. On average, eight to 10 years pass from the onset of symptoms to the time of intervention. These are critical developmental years in a child’s life, and NAMI is here to arm parents, caregivers and teachers with the skills, information and resources they need to help children and adolescents cope with symptoms, access treatment and succeed in life. Customized presentations are available upon request.

For scheduling and additional information, contact Susan Harrington at or (412) 366-3788.

NAMI Basics Education Program

A 6-week education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with behavioral and mental health challenges. 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.

A recent research study of the NAMI Basics program was published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. The study found that NAMI Basics produces “significant improvement” for families in communication and coping skills. Specifically the study found that participants reported improvement in self-care and empowerment, based on information about resources, parenting strategies and self-advocacy and experienced a “reduction in inflammatory communication,” through control of anger, preemption of problems and being highly specific about expectations.

Fall 2016 Schedule

Classes begin Thursday, October 10, 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the NAMI Southwestern PA office, Ross Twp. Class meets once a week, for 6 weeks. Call 412-366-3788 or email to register for the course.  CLASSES FILL QUICKLY!

NAMI Basics Fall Flyer

School Presentation: NAMI Ending the Silence

Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental health issues makes a big difference. NAMI’s Ending the Silence teaches students how to recognize early warning signs for themselves and their friends, where and how to get help and when it’s not okay to keep a secret. The in-school presentation helps to raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health problems.

In this 50-minute mental health awareness program designed for middle and high school age youth, students get to see the reality of living with a mental health condition. Along with recieving facts and statistics about youth and mental health conditions, students will hear from a young adult in recovery. who will share their story of challenges and triumphs with students. Students will have the rare opportunity to ask questions about mental health challenges to individuals who has lived experience.

NAMI’s Ending the Silence (ETS) aims to instill a message of hope and recovery and to encourage teens to actively care for themselves and their peers by reaching out for help and by reducing the stigma of living with mental illness.

Learn more about ETS or download a one-page Ending the Silence flyer.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

An 8-hour course designed to teach parents, caregivers, educators, school staff, coaches, human service workers, youth group leaders and caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis. This free, one-day course is for any adult who regularly interacts with young people. At the end of the class, each attendee will be certified as a Mental Health First Aider through the National Council for Behavioral Health.

PDF flyer Youth MHFA flyer

NAMI In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness

A 90-minute, interactive, multimedia presentation by individuals living with mental illness that offers hope and provides insight into recovery. Audiences will have the opportunity to have a dialogue with speakers who have lived-experience with a mental health condition. Presentations are customized for community groups, faith groups, high school and univeristy level students.

In Our Own Voice flyer

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