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 Ontario, Canada

About the Family-to-Family Programs, Ontario, Canada

Looking for NAMI Ontario?  You've come to the right place.  Formerly known as NAMI Ontario, the Family-to-Family Programs, Ontario, still offer the same programs for Canadians in Ontario and in Dorval, Qu├ębec.  We've changed the name to better reflect what we actually do, which is to educate and provide support to caregivers of people with a serious mental illness through the Family-to-Family Education course and support groups.  Through the Provider Education course, we educate people who work face-to-face with individuals with a mental illness.  This is our sole mandate and we will continue to offer you these programs.

Founded in the United States in 1979, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a non-profit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.  Since its inception, NAMI has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.  The work of NAMI in the United States is comparable to the work done in Canada by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

In Ontario, the Family-to-Family Programs focus solely on family education and support.  These programs are offered by different
agencies as described under Course Locations.

It is due to the dedicated efforts of the late Judi Rollo, one of the leading advocates, that the NAMI Family-to-Family Programs are offered in Ontario.  For many years, Judi was the mind, heart and soul of NAMI; the driving force that led the program to eventually being offered in other regions in Ontario, in Dorval, Quebec, and to a similar program being offered in Southern Ontario for service providers.  Acting as director for Ontario, she actively promoted and oversaw the programs until her declining health forced her to scale back her involvement in 2008.  Many of us cannot imagine today what it would be like to deal with the chaos, the uncertainty and the lack of support and resources for families who care for a loved one with a serious mental illness without having benefited from the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program.  Judi worked tirelessly to ensure that Canadian families would have access to this wonderful program.

The first NAMI Family-to-Family Education course was held in Ottawa in 1998, the first city in Canada east of the Rocky Mountains to begin a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program and that has grown since then to many other regions in Ontario and in Dorval, Quebec.  The Provider Education Program is similar to the Family-to-Family Education Program but is aimed at educating health care professionals and other individuals who provide service and support to individuals with a mental illness.

In Ottawa, the Family-to-Family Education course is sponsored through an annual grant obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Health with the assistance of the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.  The Family-to-Family Programs and oversight of the other regions are entirely administered, promoted and delivered by family members, who work as unpaid volunteers. 

Organizations offering the NAMI programs are responsible for obtaining their own funds to offer the courses within their areas. For information related to local support and resources in Ontario and Dorval, Quebec, please click on Course Locations.

If you have any questions about NAMI or the education and support we offer to families, please contact Madeleine Bertrand, Director, Family-to-Family Programs, Ontario at familytofamily.on@bell.net.

The NAMI National website, the web's leading mental illness site, is an invaluable resource for information, breaking news, advocacy, and support.  For information about NAMI in the United States, visit their website at www.nami.org.