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NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week course for parents and family caregivers of children and adolescents with emotional or behavioral issues. It provides critical strategies for taking care of your child and learning the ropes of recovery.

NAMI Basics is taught by NAMI-trained teachers who are parents or caregivers of children with similar issues. Participants will learn communication tips, how to problem-solve, and the skills to help them cope with the emotional impact of caring for their child.

At NAMI Basics, you’ll find out that you are not alone. The group setting of NAMI Basics provides mutual support and shared positive impact – you can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. You also can help others with your own experience.

NAMI Basics covers:

  • Managing crises, solving problems, and communicating effectively
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress
  • 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 current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications, and side effects
  • 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
Upcoming NAMI Basics Courses

Please note that our NAMI Basics classes are currently offered virtually. NAMI Basics OnDemand continues to be available.

NAMI Basics OnDemand gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to participate on their own schedule! The six-module course covers the same material as the in-person NAMI Basics classes.

The OnDemand program is guided by parents and family members with lived experience but is self-paced and available 24/7. OnDemand offers the flexibility of participating in the course on your schedule. Both formats provide identical information, strategies and the opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers.

The Connect and Share option in NAMI Basics OnDemand offers parents and caregivers the opportunity to share stories, support, and interact with each other in an online setting.

Sign up for NAMI Basics on Demand.

Volunteering with NAMI Basics

Volunteer as a NAMI Basics Teacher
The NAMI Basics course is taught by two NAMI-trained teachers who have first-hand experience as a parent or family caregiver of a child who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Are you interested in becoming a Basics teacher? Contact Ilya Cherkasov, Director of Family Programs.

Volunteer to support NAMI Basics

Volunteers help with program development, outreach, promotion, and more. Volunteer to support NAMI Basics – fill out our volunteer application!

Contact us for more information about NAMI Basics:

Ilya Cherkasov, MS
Director of Family Programs
617-580-8541 x 219


Eliza T. Williamson, M.Ed, MFA, CPS
Deputy Director of Programs
617-580-8541 x 221

NAMI Massachusetts Compass Helpline logo
Looking for additional family support options?

Check out our Family Support resource page.

You can also contact our Compass helpline. Learn more about Compass.