Youth & Family Programs

An image of three photos in a row. The left photo shows a women with an inquisitive expression raising her hand to ask a question. The center photo is a woman giving a speech in a classroom. The right photo is two elderly women laughing in the park.

Youth and Family Programs

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14. On average, 8 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.

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

NAMI Basics Education Program

NAMI Basics is a 6-week education program for parents and 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 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. The study found that participants reported improvement in self-care and empowerment, based on information about resources, parenting strategies, and self-advocacy. Participants also experienced a “reduction in inflammatory communication” through control of anger, preemption of problems, and being highly specific about expectations.

NAMI Basics General 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 (ETS) 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 misconceptions of mental health disorders.

ETS  is designed for middle and high school age youth and can fit into a 42/50 minute class period. Students will leave the presentation equipped with facts and statistics regarding youth and mental health. More importantly, they will hear personal testimony about the challenges and triumphs of living with a mental health diagnosis. Students will also have the rare opportunity to ask questions and have an informed dialogue with both a family member and an individual who are affected by mental illness.

Knowing how to start the conversation is an important part of maintaining one’s mental health, and ETS can empower students with this tool. The ETS program aims to instill a message of hope and recovery, to encourage and educate teens how to actively care for themselves and their peers, and to reduce the stigma that can block a young person’s path to wellness.

Learn more about ETS or download a one-page ETS Information Flyer.


Ending the Silence Presenter Training (TRAINING FILLED)
Saturday, August 12, 2017
NAMI Montgomery County Office, Lansdale, PA

(TRAINING IS FILLED. You may submit applications to be placed on a waiting list.) If you are interested in becoming a presenter for the ETS program please complete the PRESENTER TRAINING APPLICATION. Registrants must have application approved by a NAMI affiliate. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for the training. Deadline for submission is July 24.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is 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.

Youth MHFA Flyer

NAMI In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness

NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique public education program in which presentations consist of two trained speakers sharing their compelling personal stories of living with mental health challenges and achieving recovery. Audiences range from individuals living with mental health challenges, students of all ages, law enforcement officials and faith community members, to veterans and service providers.

This free, 90-minute, interactive presentation provides audiences a first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental health diagnosis while offering hope and providing insight into the fact that recovery is possible for people with mental illness.

Download an IOOV Information Flyer for more information. If you would like to host a presentation for your group, please contact Susan Caban at 412-366-3788 or

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