NAMI’s Family-to-Family program continues to be a successful education program for families who have a loved one with a mental illness. This evidenced-based program has made a tremendous impact on families in Erie County. Here are a few testimonials from NAMI’s recent Family-to-Family graduates:

“I was quite impressed. It truly helped me understand that she is sick and other people go through the same thing. I can now talk about it and not feel ashamed.” 
  – from a mother with a 35 year old daughter who has bipolar disorder

“Wonderful!! I’ve learned so much – it’s helped me understand my son and his thoughts and behaviors ….. met some great people who truly understand what I’m going through.”
     – from a mother with a son who is 23 and has schizophrenia

“It has greatly helped me understand my husband’s mental illness. I better understand what is probably going on in his head and how it feels, which has made me more empathic towards him. Before this course, I was about to divorce him. Now I realize I still love him and he really needs me to help him get through his day. Now, I encourage him and am more mindful of his needs and not just mine.” 
     – from a wife with a husband who has depression and panic attacks

“Missi [the volunteer teacher] went beyond just teaching the material in the book. She showed compassion and understanding for every class participant. She was able to reach out to all of us and inspire empathy and kindness in all that we do. I will never forget her warmness, her ability to make everyone feel welcome, and the message of hope she conveyed.” 
  – from a class participant, about the instructor of the recent Family-to-Family course

“I do it mostly out of gratitude; I am so grateful for having the class available when my family needed it the most. We didn’t know what to do or what we were facing. I know what others are going through, and I feel responsible to carry on what was given to me so long ago.” 
– from Missi Berquist, on why she teaches the NAMI Family-to-Family course

NAMI Family Feature

Christina Halli, a graduate from the Erie County Family-to-Family program, shared these emotions when her son was diagnosed with a brain disorder:

I know that mental illness negatively impacts the whole family. At age eight, my son began seeing a child psychologist for behavior issues. At age 12, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Initially, I was overwhelmed. Then I realized I needed to learn about mental illness so I could advocate on my son’s behalf. I enrolled in the Family-to-Family program and it has made a huge difference in my life. I feel like I now have the knowledge needed to better care for my son. Also, I am more familiar with community resources available for families like mine. Finally, it has helped me build a support group of people with similar family challenges. I highly recommend NAMI’s Family-to-Family course.”

Christina Halli – Erie, PA

One recent graduate, Bill Lasher, wrote a recommendation about our Family-to-Family course.


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NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer program has helped improve the lives of those individuals living with mental illness.  Here are a few testimonials from NAMI’s recent Peer-to-Peer graduates:

“It had a very positive impact on the way I live. This course gave me a very good understanding of my mental illness. It helped me with the way I live my life now. Because of the Peer-to-Peer course, I was able to get over the ‘bump in the road.’ I now have the courage to get a job and return to the workforce.”
– from an individual with depression and panic attacks

“Now I have hope and I am getting ready to move on with my life. I am making efforts towards gaining employment, finding housing, and returning to school soon.”
– from a person with bipolar disorder

 “I’m still coping with mental health issues, but I have a sense of hope. Now I know that I would like to begin a career as a peer counselor for support sessions or work the phone lines at a local nonprofit agency.”
     -from a woman facing the challenges of depression

“I have always worked and owned my own home. It’s nice to be around other people with a mental illness. I’ve never had anyone to talk to about my depression, lupus, and other health problems. I found out about the Peer-to-Peer class because a flyer was posted at my place of employment. I’m so glad that I found out about this class. My social and coping skills have improved.”  
     -from a man working through bipolar disorder

“Through this course, I’ve been able to understand that mental illness is not my fault. I have hope for a good future. I have a goal to find work as a Peer Support Specialist one day so I can help others in need.”
     – from an individual that has anxiety disorder