Education

NAMI Kent County offers many programs to educate our community about mental illness and treatment options as well as to support people with mental illness and their families. Programs offered here in Kent County are:

Times and dates for all programs can be found on our calendar.

Sign up to get information on any of our programs here:


NAMI Family-to-Family


Classes are scheduled for 2 1/2 hours, with a break midway for snacks and beverages
Time is usually 6:00 - 8:30 



NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition.

NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.


What You'll Gain


NAMI Family-to-Family not only provides information and strategies for taking care of the person you love, but you'll also find out that you're not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope.

The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact—experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing your own experience may help others in your class. In the program, you'll learn about:

  • How to solve problems and communicate effectively
  • Taking care of yourself and managing your stress
  • Supporting your loved one with compassion
  • Finding and using local supports and services
  • Up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain
  • How to handle a crisis
  • Current treatments and therapies
  • The impact of mental health conditions on the entire family

What People Are Saying


"The course gave me hope that it will be okay, that I am not alone and reduced a lot of shame, guilt and hopelessness."

"I wish I'd known about this seven years ago when the problem began. I felt safe in this class. I was able to talk about things I haven't been comfortable expressing elsewhere."

"Before I took the course, I felt alone and overwhelmed dealing with my daughter’s mental illness. By taking this course, I have met others who are going through the same things I am and have learned about many resources that I never knew existed."

"I thought my wife and I knew just about everything there is to know about the system and the illness. Boy, were we wrong. Without a doubt, this is the best support course I have had the privilege of taking part in, bar none."


NAMI Peer-to-Peer


The fall session of Peer to Peer begins February 7, 2020
Classes will be held weekly on Thursdays for 8 weeks
Classes are scheduled for 2 hours, with a break midway for snacks and beverages
Time is 7:00 - 9:00 PM
We will meet at Cornerstone Church in Caledonia


NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions who are looking to better understand themselves and their recovery.

Taught by trained leaders with lived experience, this program includes activities, discussions and informative videos. However, as with all NAMI programs, it does not include recommendations for treatment approaches.


What You'll Gain


NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a safe, confidential space. The course provides an opportunity for mutual support and growth. Experience compassion and understanding from people who relate to your experiences. This is a place to learn more about recovery in an accepting environment. 
NAMI Peer-to-Peer helps you:

  • Set a vision and goals for the future
  • Partner with health care providers
  • Develop confidence for making decisions
  • Practice relaxation and stress reduction tools
  • Share your story
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Enhance communication skills
  • Learn about mental health treatment options

What People Are Saying


“I am now aware that I’m not alone. I’d like to become more involved with NAMI and advocacy.”

“I’ve really learned how to cope with my triggers better, and I’m now on the path to truly loving myself.”

“NAMI Peer-to-Peer gave me hope when I was close to giving up. I realized that things can and do get better and that my mental health condition doesn’t define me. I learned how to speak up for myself, build a strong support network and make plans for my future. I felt welcome and like I was among friends. Most importantly, I felt heard and understood.”

“I’ve learned how to communicate with my parents about what’s going on with me.”

“It was really nice being with people who understood.”


NAMI Basics


We do not currently have any NAMI Basics classes in Kent County, but we have fully trained volunteers and are ready to start a class as soon as we have enough people signed up. If you'd like to sign up, do let us know in the form.



NAMI Basics is a free, 6-session education program for parents, guardians and other family who provide care for youth (age 22 or younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms. NAMI Basics is offered in a group setting so you can connect with other people in person.

You'll learn the facts about mental health conditions and how best to support your child at home, at school and when they're getting medical care. Last year, 99% of participants told us they would recommend the program to other parents.

The course is taught by a trained team with lived experience—they know what you're going through because they've been there. The 6-session program provides strategies for taking care of your child and learning the ropes of recovery.


What You'll Gain


At NAMI Basics, you'll find out that you're not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope. The group setting of NAMI Basics provides mutual support and shared positive impact—experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Your own experience may help others in the group.

NAMI Basics covers:

  • Solving problems and communicating effectively
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress
  • Accepting that mental health conditions are no one's fault
  • Developing the confidence and stamina to support your child with compassion
  • Advocating for your child's rights at school and in health care settings
  • Learning about different types of mental health care professionals, available treatment options and therapies
  • Preparing for and responding to crisis
  • Gaining an overview of the public mental health care, school and juvenile justice systems and supporting resources to help you navigate these systems
  • Understanding the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on your entire family

What People Are Saying


"This is such a great step by step program that walks parents through every step of the way. It is as if you are holding their hand through it all."

"This class was unexpectedly wonderful! I did not expect to learn so very, very much! This program is well written with excellent segues between topics. It covers so much more than BASICS that the title doesn't do it justice."

"I wish this course was available when my child was first experiencing difficulty."

"I find it truly remarkable that this training is free to those who are interested."


NAMI Connection


NAMI Connection resumes this fall. We will meet on the third Tuesday of the month at Network180 at 7PM.
Our first meeting will be Tuesday, October 15 at 7PM.



NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group is a free, peer-led support group for any adult who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. You will gain insight from hearing the challenges and successes of others, and the groups are led by trained leaders who've been there.

NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model to ensure you and others in the group have an opportunity to be heard and to get what you need.

  • Free of cost to participants
  • Designed for adults (18+) with mental health conditions
  • Led by people with mental health conditions
  • 90 minutes long and meets weekly, every other week or monthly (varies by location)
  • No specific medical therapy or treatment is endorsed
  • Confidential

What You'll Gain


By sharing your experiences in a safe and confidential setting, you can gain hope and feel a sense of connection. The group encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. You'll benefit from other's experiences, discover your inner strength and empower yourself by sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental space.

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group will help you:

  • Aim for better coping skills
  • Find strength in sharing experiences
  • Not judge anyone's pain
  • Forgive ourselves and reject guilt
  • Embrace humor as healthy
  • Accept that we cannot solve every problem
  • Understand that mental health conditions are no one's fault and can be traumatic experiences

What People Are Saying


“… People can solve problems [at a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group]. It isn't just a bunch of sad stories; people are coming up with solutions and stuff to do for the next week. One of our group attendees is taking her meds and getting herself to her counselor and is just about able to go back to her career in great part due to Connection.”

"NAMI Connection has enabled me to take a good look at my illness and see that I am not alone. The program has given me additional tools to not only accept my illness, but to help others along the way."


NAMI Family Support Group


NAMI Family Support Group in Kent County meets on the third tuesday of every month at Network180.



NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences.

NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get what they need.

  • Free of cost to participants
  • Designed for adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions
  • Led by family members of people with mental health conditions
  • 60-90 minutes long and meets weekly, every other week or monthly (varies by location)
  • No specific medical therapy or treatment is endorsed
  • Confidential

What You'll Gain


By sharing your experiences in a safe setting, you can gain hope and develop supportive relationships. This group allows your voice to be heard and provides an opportunity for your personal needs to be met. It encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. You'll benefit from other’s experiences, discover your inner strength and empower yourself by sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental space.

NAMI Family Support Group will help you:

  • Aim for better coping skills
  • Find strength in sharing experiences
  • Not judge anyone’s pain
  • Forgive ourselves and reject guilt
  • Embrace humor as healthy
  • Accept that we cannot solve every problem
  • Understand that mental health conditions are no one's fault and can be traumatic experiences

What People Are Saying


“The most beneficial thing for me was that I am not alone. I found the NAMI Family Support Group at the time I really needed it!”

"The support group facilitators and attendees were respectful of other people's experiences and were non-judgmental when there were different ways of handling things."

"I felt I received constructive, practical and helpful information from group members."

"Using the [NAMI] support group model is so essential to the success of our family support groups. As a group, the collective wisdom covered a lot of possibilities."

Nami Kent County logo

A local affiliate of NAMI

We educate

We support

We advocate

P.O. Box 3503
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Services we offer

Monthly General Meetings with a speaker

Family to Family

Peer to Peer

Family Support Group

NAMI Connection