Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Something I have been thinking about

Maybe this seems a little far-fetched… but I have been pondering the idea of starting a support group for families of people dealing with depression/mental illness at my church… maybe not in the immediate future…but sometime in the future I could see this happening…

earlier in the year, the church had a seminar for parents dealing with isssues of depression/cutting/suicide and there was quite a number of people who attended it


If NAMI has a chapter near you, that might be something you can get involved with.
Not that there is anything wrong with starting something positive at your local church. But I’m certain that there is much to be learned about such group meetings and NAMI seems the be the best example we have in the US.

That sounds like a wonderful idea. The more support and help there is in the community for those dealing with mental illness the better.

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@Windyhill63, there are many more of “us” than we realize. What a great idea

Our life so so busy since we have an hour commute to work every day and it is not easy to make it to the NAMI meetings because they are on the busiest days for us… on weekdays… there are a couple of groups between an hour and 90 minutes away… one of them on the same night my daughter has her therapy… so we cannot make it to any NAMI meetings

I get you. Hence the need for better local involvement.
It sounds like your idea to start a group with your church is a good one.

I think it would be good to try to get to a NAMI meeting because it would be good to see a good example.

I think that sounds like a great idea! It can be a lonely situation, but so many others in every community are dealing with the same things.

I just found this from Mental Health America website for a good resource to get this started:

Support Group Facilitaction Guide

Maybe a good way to start would be to ask your closest NAMI group to offer a Partnerships class at your church on a weekend. Would give you some structure from people who are experienced and get your group started. I am trying to get our closest NAMI group to offer such a class in my area.

What is Partnerships?

This is a free 2- or 3-part class to help participants learn how to care for a family member or friend with mental illness. Partnerships is an educational workshop that provides information to families, mental health professionals and the community about: Depression, Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) and Schizophrenia.


@hope I believe that I will look into that! Thanks for that suggestion!

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I haven’t been impressed with NAMI at all. There’s no way I would ever contact them again… I would definitely start up a support group. I say go for it!!

Great idea!!!..

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All this is still in the idea stage… I haven’t done anything other than researching leading support groups… I haven’t discussed the idea with anyone else other than my wife… and then only briefly… still have to discuss it with the church leadership

Great idea but get a co-leader to work with so the group goes on if one if you has something comes up. Consider offering it as a Sunday school class option so that fits with what the families are already at church doing. Studying a book of the Bible is great- but this is what you need now in this chapter of your life more. Thanks for thinking about the families too!

@Windyhill63 I’d suggest you don’t give up on NAMI. Just like a lot of groups, they are only as good as the people who lead them. The NAMI model is very good if it is followed and the leader does not allow the group to get stuck on negativity. The 3 different NAMI small groups I have attended have helped me a lot…although two were better than the 3rd… (and my husband and I both say that the NAMI Family-to-Family classes we attended was the best thing we had done in our journey at that point). When you tie in to an existing organization, you can more easily offer standard guidelines, open it up to the community, and receive free to the group support and materials, as well as fund-raising opportunities that support outreach and advocacy that can help a greater number of people. NAMI also offers peer-to-peer small groups for our loved ones who are willing to attend (but they meet separately from the family support groups). I attended 2 days of training to become a NAMI Family (& Friends) Support Group facilitator (but I co-facilitate) and I am really glad to have done that…I feel like I can effectively help make a difference in the lives of people with whom I share so much. Many of these groups meet IN churches, even though NAMI does not in any way encourage faith or political views. But this does not mean that a person cannot talk about his/her faith as it relates to his/her journey or need at the time.


If there was a closer NAMI meeting that was at a good time, we would go…but I did talk this idea with one of the church leaders and he thought it was a good idea…and thinks I should bring it with with the pastor. Talking it over with my wife, she thinks we should wait for a while after we have gotten further along with the whole process.

I live in relatively small community. To go to a support group in the nearest city means at least an hour trip each way. A church in our town has offered to open space for a mental health support group for families and friends. The minister has had NAMI training and there is a co-facilitator. The minister has made it clear that it is a non-religious, non-denominational meeting place. The group started with a NAMI presentation for the community and grew out of the expressed need for local support. I’m so happy to have found a local group for families in our community and am hopeful it will be helpful for me and others.
Maybe you can work with your pastor and a local NAMI chapter to get a group started?

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