Family-to-Family Program Offers ‘Life-Changing’ Support for Family Members Affected by Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Santa Barbara County, which is hosted by and receives support from the Mental Wellness Center, has announced that pre-registration is now open for its Family-to-Family education program for family members of adults living with a mental illness.

The free, 12-week course is designed to help family members understand and support their loved one, and explore a personal path toward well-being. The program offers information on mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and other mental health conditions, including how they are diagnosed and treated.

Taught by trained and certified teachers who have been in similar family situations, the nationally-recognized program helps participants learn coping skills, such as effective communication strategies, how to access community resources, how to best offer support to their relative and how to deal with crisis situations.

Often referred to as “life-changing,” the program has graduated approximately 750 participants in Santa Barbara and has been credited with offering hope to family members impacted by mental illness.

“NAMI’s Family to Family program was a lifesaver,” said one participant. “The class provided a wealth of information, but just as important was the sharing of information that took place before, during, and after class among the attendees. We learned how to set limits and communicate with our son. And most importantly, we learned that we must be patient.” 

The next Family-to-Family course is set to begin on February 1, 2017 at the Mental Wellness Center (617 Garden Street, Santa Barbara). Pre-registration is required.

For more information or to register, please contact family advocate Ramona Winner at or 805-884-8440 ext. 3206.

About the Mental Wellness Center

The Mental Wellness Center is a private, non-profit organization that recognizes that mental illness is a community matter that affects us all. The Mental Wellness Center is dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by mental illness, through support, education, and direct services. For more information, please call (805) 884-8440 or visit

About NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County is a program of the Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and an affiliate of NAMI California. Its dedicated volunteers, members and leaders work tirelessly to raise awareness and provide essential education, advocacy and support group programs for people in our community living with mental illness and their loved ones.

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