NAMI Press Release

NAMI’s Family to Family Education Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary and Recognition as Evidence-Based Practice
January 20, 2011

Arlington, VA. January 20, 2011. As NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Family to Family (F2F) education program, it has released a study showing that F2F meets the standard for an evidence-based practice.
The Family to Family Education Program is a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals living with severe mental illness. It is a grass roots program taught by over 6,000 trained family members who have relatives with mental illness. The program is available in 48 states, 2 Canadian Provinces, Mexico and Italy and has touched the lives of over 300,000 participants in the past 30 years.
“30 years ago, a member of NAMI, Joyce Burland, took great initiative and created the Family to Family education program. Her sister and daughter were living with schizophrenia and she believed the mental health care system could do more to address caregiver struggles. F2F quickly spread nationwide and became the cornerstone of NAMI’s education programs,” said NAMI Executive Director, Michael J. Fitzpatrick.
As a result of Family to Family’s popularity, NAMI collaborated with the School of Science at the University of Maryland to conduct a randomized trial to test the effectiveness of the program. The study involved comparing families who completed the 12 week program to families who hadn’t begun the course yet. The results revealed that families who participated in the program showed several improvements, including improved problem-focused and emotional-focused coping, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved family functioning (such as problem solving and communication).
“The course gave me hope that it will be okay, that I am not alone, and reduced of a lot of shame, guilt, and hopelessness,” said a Family to Family participant from California. “I see my wife now as someone who is ill and not as someone having a character flaw. The course helped me educate my children about their mother’s illness and increased my compassion for my wife and others who have mental illnesses.”
NAMI plans to celebrate the anniversary of Family to Family with a special tribute event for Joyce Burland at the NAMI Convention in Chicago, July 6-9. A special forum will also take place at the convention, featuring a detailed overview of the study.
For more information about Family to Family please visit
To view the published article about Family to Family as an evidence-based practice, visit


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