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

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


A Practical Plan for Supporting a Loved One with a Mental Illness

Great progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill in recent decades. There have been major breakthroughs in medications and types of treatments. Resources never before available are now a real prospect in the management of your loved one’s case.

When you have a serious legal problem, you engage an attorney to guide you through the legal system. When you have a loved one with a mental illness an advocate is needed to guide the case through the mental health system. That someone must be familiar with the basics of mental illness and the resources in the field to assist in pursuing your loved one’s recovery.

Almost certainly that someone must be you. Mental health facilities and programs have been overloaded and under funded for decades. You are the one that really cares and are the one who has been and will be in close contact with the case. But you must gain a familiarity with the basics of mental illness and the system. Listed below are some practical suggestions to get you started.


You can’t do it alone. You will need the education, information and support of an organization. NAMI Contra Costa is one such group. E mail:


Get a 3- ring binder, fill it with lined paper, divide it into several parts and make entries as you have the time and the need. Setup one section to record observations about your subject, one on notes about ideas and concepts you think important, one on listings of various locations, facilities, programs and other resources that might be helpful in your efforts.


Setup a permanent set of files to receive all the paperwork the case will generate. Ask for a copy of any document you come in contact with. Especially copies of diagnoses and prescriptions. Follow the rule that you never let an original out of the file, but make many copies and make certain that all the folks involved in the case have a copy.


Do not go from office to office endlessly repeating the basics of the case. Create a summary, as you would a resume for a job search that gives the particulars of the case up to the present time. Put the subjects name, address, phone number, e mail address, and contact person (you). At the top of the sheet. Use a type size that will get a lot of information on one page, but large enough to be legible (Font 10). Leave the document in the computer memory for future use. The page should be limited to just one page as that encourages the reader to actually read the material.


A very brief cover letter (Optional) may add to the flexibility of your message. Leave that in the computer’s memory.


Get your loved one to sign a Release of Confidentiality at each office or facility that your loved one goes to. This is imperative. You can’t talk with the doctor or his staff without that signed document. Your can download Release of Confidentiality here.


In a very short period of time you can educate yourself on the basics of mental illness. NAMI-CC offers a FREE 12 week, one night weekly, course that gives you the information you need.


These groups will give you the continuing support and information you will need. They are held monthly throughout the county. For information: E mail:
Go to for a dates and times of groups in the county.

You can download the Survival Guide here.

You can download the Survival Guide Form here.

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