how to listen

Listen with an open mind
and without judgment

Listening can be one of the most powerful ways to support a friend, family member, or colleague.
Here are some ways to support those who have a mental health issue.

 

 

resources

Resources

Find out more about support groups and programs offered by NAMI.

education

Education

Learn more about mental health issues and how to manage them.

support

Assistance

Call 1-800-273-TALK for immediate help. In an emergency dial 911.

 

 

 

“Our mission is to tear down myths and misconceptions about mental illness, support a world free of stigma and positively impact each and every individual touched by mental illness. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I am often asked how each one of us can get involved in this vital task. The answer is always the same. We need to simply start by listening.” 

- Michael Birnbaum, MD


 

Resources

NAMI-NYC Metro support groups connect individuals with others who live with similar challenges. Our groups offer creative and practical solutions to specific problems or concerns. All of our trained volunteers have lived experiences and strive to create an environment of mutual respect and support. Find your local NAMI affiliate using our locator tool.

 

We have a successful record of creating and maintaining groups that coincide with the needs of the community. Groups are focused on a specific membership in an effort to help people connect with others who are living with very similar issues. Due to the high incidence of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse, all of NAMI’s support, education, and advocacy programs address this issue. 

The following groups are for mental health consumers only. Please review group description and instructions for first time attendees carefully to ensure the group will meet your needs. Occasionally, groups change time or location, call the Helpline (212.684.3264) to confirm meeting. Unless noted all support groups meet at: NAMI-NYC Metro — 505 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1103 (at 35th Street) New York, NY10018.

Bipolar Disorder Support Group

Facilitator:
Rich Satkin
Date and Time:
First and third Thursday of each month; 6:30 – 8:00 pm.
Description:
Peer support and sharing of strategies for successful living for individuals with bipolar disorder.
Instructions for First Time Attendees:
Please call the Helpline to see if this group most appropriate for your needs at 212-684-3264.

Hearing Voices Support Group
Facilitator:
Patricia Maher-Brisen, Stephanie Lehmann, and Barry Floyd
Date and Time:
First and third Friday of each month; 3:30 – 5:00 pm.
Description:
Peer support for anyone who identifies as a voice hearer.
Interested parties feel free to attend.
Call the helpline at 212-684-3264 with any questions.

Individuals With OCD at Mt.Sinai
Facilitator:
Lauren Priday
Date, Time, and Location:
First Friday of each month at Mt. Sinai Medical Center,
1450 Madison Avenue at 99th Streeet, Room 122 of 1N (Ground Floor);
7:00 to 8:00 pm.
Description:
Support and cognitive behavioral techniques for individuals with OCD.
Instructions for First Time Attendees:
Please call the Helpline to see if this group is most appropriate for your needs at 212-684-3264.
If attending for the first time, tell the security guard you are there for the support group with Lauren Priday.

Job Talk
Facilitator:
Ed O’Donnell
Date and Time:
Fourth Friday of each month; 6:45 pm.
Description:
Peer support and professional guidance for individuals with any employment-related issue.
Instructions for First Time Attendees:
Interested parties please feel free to attend. Call the Helpline with questions at 212-684-3264.

Criminal Justice Group

Facilitator: Leah Gitter

Date and Time: Fourth Thursday each month; 6pm

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for family members of individuals  in the criminal justice system.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties must speak to the facilitator at 212-431-7276 before attending the group.

Daughters and Sons of Parents with Mental Illness

Facilitator: Maria Cotto, Jessica Jamhoury, and Katrina Lempenski

Date and Time: Second Monday of each month; 6:15 to 7:45 pm.

Description: Problem-solving, community building, and sharing in confidence any issue related to having a parent  with mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Please call the Helpline (212-684-3264) to see if this group is appropriate for your needs and then feel free to attend.

 

Family to Family Support Group

Facilitators: Patti Sacher and Pamela Solomon

Date and Time: First Thursday of each month; 6:00 pm.

Description: Ongoing support for graduates of the Family-to-Family course.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: This group is for those who have completed the Family-to-Family Course only.

 

Family and Friends Group

Facilitators: Patti Sacher and Pamela Solomon

Date and Time: Second Thursday of each month; 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for family members and friends of individuals with any mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call the Helpline(212-684-3264) with questions.

Family and Friends of Individuals with Mood Disorders

Facilitators: Debbie Finn and Joan Mellon

Date and Time: Third Tuesday of each month; 6:30 pm.

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for family members and friends of individuals with any mood disorder.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. If you would like to speak to a facilitator before attending the group, leave your contact information with the Helpline (212-684-3264)and a facilitator will call you.

 

Japanese Family Support Group

Facilitator: Eiko Kijima

Date and Time: Fourth Monday of the month; 6 pm.

Description: Support for Japanese-speaking family members of a loved one with mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: You must contact the facilitator by email at japanesehelpline@naminyc.org before attending.

 

Spanish Family Support Group

Facilitators: Brenda Ramirez-Paulino and Leslie Johnson

Date and Time: Fourth Thursday of the month; 6 pm at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 40 Haven Ave. (168th St.), 4th Floor, Rm 4002

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for Spanish speaking family members and friends of individuals with any mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Contact Brenda at 917-359-5144 with questions.

Bronx Family & Friends Support Group

Facilitator: Pamela Solomon

Date and Time: Third Thursday of each month from 6-7:30 PM
James J. Peters VA Medical Center
130 W. Kingsbridge Road, Room 5A17

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for family members and friends of individuals with any mental illness

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call Pamela Solomon with questions. 212-684-3365 ext. 218

 

Media & Advocacy Discussion Group

Facilitator: Judith Carrington

Date and Time: First Monday of the month; 6:00 pm

Description: Discussion for individuals interested in media coverage of mental health and NAMI-NYC Metro advocacy initiatives

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call the Helpline at 212-684-3264 for upcoming speakers and topics for discussion.

Music Support Group

Facilitator: Duncan Powell

Date and Time: Fourth Monday of the month; 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

Description: A support group to share the healing powers of music. Open to family members and individuals with mental illness

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Drop in or call the Helpline (212-684-3264) with questions

 

Sibling and Adult Child Group

Facilitator: Sharon Bogart

Date and Time: Second Thursday of each month; 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for “well” siblings or adult children of individuals with mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call the Helpline at 212-684-3264 with questions.

The Parent Matching Program
The Parent Matching Program connects, by telephone, experienced parents of children with mental health issues with parents of children who have been recently diagnosed or who are facing new challenges. Parent Matching offers parents the opportunity to talk to a parent who has “been there” and who can offer emotional support, coping strategies, the benefit of experience in negotiating the mental health and special education systems, and connection to community resources.

To request a Parent Match call the Helpline at 212-684-3264 or via email at helpline@naminyc.org.

To learn more about becoming a Support Parent, click here.

Caregiver-to-Caregiver Course 
Caregiver-to-Caregiver is a no-cost, two-part, experience-based program for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents who are struggling with their own mental illness, who wish to establish and maintain their wellness and recovery. Taught by a team of trained “mentors” who are parents living healthy and productive lives with mental illness, participants will learn the tools needed to take control of their own wellness and recovery while caring for a child. Each class contains a combination of lecture and interactive exercise material.

Support Group for Parents of Children & Adolescents 

Facilitators: Mary Ann Cerón, Nancy Parker, and Deniece Chi

Date and Time: First and third Saturday of each month; 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Location: NAMI-NYC Metro – 505 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1103 (at 35th Street) New York, NY 10018

Description: Support, sharing of coping strategies, and practical information for parents of children with severe emotional or behavioral disorders or mental illness.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Please contact the Helpline with questions.

Family-to-Family Course
The Family-to-Family course is a twelve-week NAMI National program developed by a psychologist who is also the parent of an adult child with mental illness. The weekly classes are taught by a trained family member and provide information and practical skills in a supportive environment. Course topics include: how diagnoses are made; medication updates; developing empathy for your family member’s experience; letting go of guilt; self-care; and how to communicate more effectively with your family member. For current and upcoming course schedule, click here.

NAMI Basics Course
NAMI Basics is the new signature six-week education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness. The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are also the parents or other caregivers of children and adolescents with behavioral issues, undiagnosed emotional issues, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other diagnoses. For the current course schedule, click here.

Family Support Liaison Center
The Family Support Liaison Center (FSLC), funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and based at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC Metro), serves as a citywide component of the Family Support Network. The primary function of the FSLC is to collaborate with the NYC DOHMH and the nine Family Resource Centers (FRCs) across New York City to share best practices and improve the delivery of family support services for youth and families (parent/caregivers) by creating a Family Support Network.

The Parent Matching Program
The Parent Matching Program connects, by telephone, experienced parents of children with mental health issues with parents of children who have been recently diagnosed or who are facing new challenges. Parent Matching offers parents the opportunity to talk to a parent who has “been there” and who can offer emotional support, coping strategies, the benefit of experience in negotiating the mental health and special education systems, and connection to community resources.

To request a Parent Match call the Helpline at 212-684-3264 or via email at helpline@naminyc.org.

To learn more about becoming a Support Parent, click here.

NAMI-NYC Metro Resource List for Transition-Age Youth
This resource list provides information on national and local organizations dealing with mental illness, research, supports, education, campus affiliates, as well as legislative action. To view the list, click here.

Media and Advocacy Group
Discussion for individuals interested in media coverage of mental health and NAMI-NYC Metro advocacy initiatives, facilitated by Judith Carrington.
Date, Time and Location: First Monday of the month; 6 pm at NAMI

Movie Club

Facilitator: Hannah Craven

Date and Time: First Saturday of each month; 5:30 to 8:30 pm

Description: Each month we screen a cinema classic, followed by a discussion.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call the Helpline with questions.

 

The Games People Play

Facilitator: Nancy Parker

Date and Time: Second Saturday of each month; 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Description: An evening of games–from Scrabble to checkers, Bingo to card games.

Instructions for First Time Attendees: Interested parties feel free to attend. Call the Helpline with questions.

Education

On average, it takes 2 years to properly diagnose a mental health issue. Many people delay seeking treatment for mental illness due to the stigma associated with mental health. But with the right treatment, it can be managed as well as any physical disease. Learn more about mental Illness.

 

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.

Assistance

Listening can help break the stigma of mental illness. For additional help or information, please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or find a NAMI near you. If someone you know or love is an immediate threat to themselves or others, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). In an emergency dial 911.