Family Support Groups
Support group for loved ones of people with mental health conditions led by trained volunteers with lived experience.
Free, drop-in, and peer-led.
Grupo de apoyo para familiares y amigos
Este grupo está destinado para familiares y amigos de personas que viven con una condición de salud mental. El grupo será en español.
Day: Every ThursdayRegistrarse aquíTime: 6:30-8:00pm
Family Support Group
Note: The 3rd Saturday meetings of this group take place in person at St. James Cathedral in the First Hill neighborhood. There will be no Zoom meetings on these days.
Open to anyone with a family member/ loved one living with a mental health condition.
Partners, Siblings & Friends Support Group
This support group is open to partners, siblings, and close friends of anyone living with a mental illness. We recognize that supporting and caring for people with mental illness who are of our same generation or peer group brings a different set of experiences than in a parent/child relationship, and this group is designed to allow participants to connect with others who share those experiences.
Day: 2nd & 4th WednesdaysClick here to register for a 2nd Wednesday meeting OR click here to register for a 4th Wednesday meeting.Time: 6:30-8:00pm
Family Support Groups Calendar
What To Expect
It is completely natural to feel vulnerable, raw, exposed, or dependent when you first consider attending a support group. The decision to attend a support group can bring up questions and discomfort even before your first meeting. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get – we hope they help you feel more comfortable trying out a support group in person or online!
Where can I find a meeting?
All NAMI Seattle support groups are listed here. We also keep a list of other drop-in mental health support groups based in the Seattle area that are not affiliated with NAMI Seattle. All listings indicate whether the support group meets virtually or in person.
NAMI Washington also keeps an updated list of all support groups hosted by NAMI affiliates across Washington state.
How much does it cost to attend a NAMI support group?
NAMI support groups are completely free and donations are never expected. NAMI is committed to providing free services and programs to all who need them.
Do I need to sign up in advance?
NAMI support groups that meet in person do not require advance registration. Registration with a valid email address is required for online groups that meet through Zoom. Check our [online support group calendar] for updates about any group cancellations.
Who will be at a NAMI support group meeting?
Our support group listings specify who is welcome at each support group. Some groups are for individuals with a specific mental health condition, experience, or identity. Some are for family and friends of someone with a mental health condition, and some are open to anyone with a connection to mental illness. If it is not clear from the description whether a particular group is appropriate for you, you are welcome to contact us to ask.
Who leads the group?
Our support groups are led by trained peer volunteers who are also a member of that particular support group. Their role is to help guide the meetings so that they are as useful and supportive as possible for all attendees. Group leaders might share resources, or describe what worked or did not work for them in the past, but always in the role of a peer and not an expert.
Is this the same as group therapy?
No. Group therapy is run by a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. In a support group all participants – including the facilitators – are treated as equals. No one attends as, or acts as, a therapist, expert or clinician.
Are these groups educational or is there a specific topic that is addressed?
No, unlike our educational classes which have set content, what gets discussed at each support group depends on what the group attendees bring up during check-in or during the discussion. If you would like to have a conversation around a specific topic or question, you can mention it to the facilitator.
What usually happens first?
- Someone will greet you and share how the group is set up. Facilitators in virtual groups display a presentation with the agenda and other necessary information for easy reference.
- For in-person groups, you may be given a nametag so that everyone can remember names. In virtual groups, you will be listed as the name you registered under (you may update this during the meeting). You may also add your pronouns.
- For in person groups, there is a sign-in sheet asking for basic information; this is to help NAMI Seattle keep a count of how many people attend our support groups. You are not required to share any information you’re uncomfortable sharing. NAMI Seattle will not share your information with anyone. (Virtual group registration occurs prior to the group starting.)
- As the group begins, people will take turns to read the group guidelines and principles of support. You may decline to read if you do not feel comfortable doing so. Talk to a facilitator if there are any accessibility issues.
- Everyone is given an opportunity to briefly introduce themselves and share a bit about how they’re doing for 1-2 minutes (you may decline if you are uncomfortable sharing).
- The group discussion begins after check-ins.
Do I need to disclose my story, situation, or diagnoses?
No. No one is required to speak. Everyone has the option to decline to speak. If you do choose to share, your information will never be shared outside of the group. You may use only your first name if this makes you more comfortable.
Why should I attend a support group?
- To decrease isolation and stigma, to find community and understanding
- To share information, keeping each other up to date on news
- To find role models, and to act as a role model for others. Meeting others who are struggling with similar issues and making progress in their lives can be inspiring and encouraging
- To get new ideas about how to overcome challenges
- To have a safe place to talk about deeply personal issues, experiences, problems, thoughts, fears, and achievements
- To gain support and assistance on your recovery journey
- To reduce anxiety, increase hope, and help your sense of overall well-being
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