NAMI Contra Costa
550 Patterson Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Office: (925) 942-0767
Warmline: (925) 465-3864

What is a Mental Illness:
Mental Illness Facts

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends, and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.

Here are some important facts about mental illness and recovery:

  • Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a person's "character" or intelligence.
  • Mental disorders fall along a continuum of severity. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 Americans — who suffer from a serious mental illness. It is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 5 families in America.
  • The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
  • Mental illnesses usually strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.
  • Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
  • The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.
  • With appropriate effective medication and a wide range of services tailored to their needs, most people who live with serious mental illnesses can significantly reduce the impact of their illness and find a satisfying measure of achievement and independence. A key concept is to develop expertise in developing strategies to manage the illness process.
  • Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By ensuring access to the treatment and recovery supports that are proven effective, recovery is accelerated and the further harm related to the course of illness is minimized.
  • Stigma erodes confidence that mental disorders are real, treatable health conditions. We have allowed stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness to erect attitudinal, structural and financial barriers to effective treatment and recovery. It is time to take these barriers down.

To find out more about specific illnesses visit the By Illness page at the NAMI National website here.

"Source: NAMI--The National Alliance on Mental Illness, [copyright year 2007];; 1-800-950-NAMI"

Please click on each header for more information.
nami connenctions

Family to Family

Click each location for more info.

General Contact Info:

Contact Nancy Seibert at or 925-285-5995

Family to Family Education Program is a twelve week, free week-night series for family members and friends of those individuals with mental illnesses.

Learn More About
Family to Family

Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, Danville Family to Family

Contact Information:
Nancy Seibert at or 925-285-5995

Richmond Family to family

Contact Information:
Mujahidun Sumchai at (510) 237-9277 or

De Familia a Familia

Curso gratuito de 12 semanas.
Para mayor información, haga click aquí.

Para mayor información contactar a: Verónica Mc Manus:
(925) 250-4032 ó

nami connenctions

NAMI Connection is a weekly recovery support group for people that have mental illness in which people learn from each others’ experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement and understanding.

Learn More About
NAMI Connection

When: Saturday's, 12:30 - 2:00 pm

Where:John Muir Behavioral Health Center, 2740 Grant Street, Concord, CA 94520
Held in the Lecture Room.

Contact information:
Doug Halpern: doug.halpern@
or (925) 457-8298

Roberto Roman: or (925) 957-5210

nami connenctions

Peer to Peer is a 10 week class for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery.

Starting Tuesday, September 10, 2013
6:30-8:30 pm
Sutter Delta Medical Center, Antioch

Learn More About
Peer to Peer

You can sign up for a class using the online form or download the Peer to Peer Flyer/Application, fill it out and mail it to:

NAMI Contra Costa
550 Patterson Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Contact information:
NAMI Contra Costa Office
(925) 942-0767

nami connenctions

NAMI CC Care and Support Group
3rd Mondy of each month
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Walnut Creek Campus
John Muir Hospital
1601 Ygnacio Valley Road
Downstairs in the Epstein Conference Room

Park in the free public garage on the La Casa Via side of the hospital.
Facilitated by Sharon Madison and Bob Thigpen.

For more information
or call
925-676-5771 or

nami connenctions

In Our Own Voice is a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained consumer speakers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery.

Learn More About
In Our Own Voice

For more information,
contact Alita VanHee:
925.324.9844 or

nami connenctions

NAMI FaithNet is a new information resource for faith communities, NAMI members and community partners and for clergy and congreations of all faith traditions who working together to create welcoming, supportive faith communities for individuals and families living with mental illness.

Contact: Monique Tarver at

Other Community
Support Groups

New Multi-language
Family Assistance

Family assistance for those speaking Spanish:
Veronica Mc Manus, defamiliaafamilia
or call (925) 250-4032

Family assistance for those speaking Mandarin:
You can send an email to and someone will get back to you soon.

New Hope Support Group

New Hope Support Group -

Offering support, education and resources to parents/caregivers of older teens and young adults diagnosed with a mood disorder, (bipolar, depression, anxiety and more). Meets the 2nd Monday of the month at the Lafayette/Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive in Lafayette from 7-9pm.

Contact Annette 510-733-0577 or
Cyndy 925-362-9434 for more information.

Membership in the support group is free and open to the community.

NAMI-CC Writers' Group

The Writers' Group
will not meet
until September

Dual Recovery Anonymous

Dual Recovery Anonymous is a 12 Step self-help program that is based on the principals of the Twelve Steps and the experiences of men and women in recovery with a dual diagnosis. The DRA program helps us recover from both our chemical dependency and our emotional or psychiatric illness by focusing on relapse prevention and actively improving the quality of our lives. In a community of mutual support, we learn to avoid the risks that lead back to alcohol and drug use as well as reducing the symptoms of our emotional or psychiatric illness.

Tuesdays 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm
John Muir Center for Recovery Classroom B
2730 Grant Street, Concord
Contact: 925.212.2241

Clutterer's Support Group

Overwhelmed by clutter?

ClutterLess is a 510(c)3 non-profit, peer-based, self help support group for people who want to change their cluttering behaior on a deeper level than learning how to organize.

For more information,
please call us at:
or visit or