By: Kathryn L. Ross, Executive Director

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NAMI MCHENRY COUNTY is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI provides educational programs and support for people with mental illness, their families, caregivers and the community. NAMI McHenry County is located in the Community Resource Center at 620 Dakota Street in Crystal Lake.  All of NAMI’s services and programs are free.  

Support is a key component for individuals living with a mental health diagnosis as well as for those caring for a person with a mental health diagnosis. NAMI McHenry County’s Peer Support Specialists provide one-to-one support in English and Spanish, a weekly Peer Support Group for individuals living with a diagnosis and Family Support Group for those caring for a loved one living with a diagnosis.

NAMI believes that education is key for understanding mental health challenges.  Peer-to-Peer is a 10-week education program for adults living with a mental health diagnosis. Participants discover a holistic approach for recovery through discussion and interactive activities designed to promote recovery, reduce symptoms, and develop relapse prevention plans. They learn together and support one another.

Family–to-Family is a 12-week course for adult relatives and friends of individuals living with a mental health illness. Topics cover mental health disorders, symptom control, current brain research related to mental health, medication issues, self-care and coping skills.  The class participants learn alongside one another and become a supportive community of understanding that they are not alone.  

In addition to the above supports and education, NAMI offers Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a free 8-week class for adults who desire mental health wellness. Participants develop personalized plans to achieve recovery goals including managing symptoms using the foundational principles of recovery. Once an individual has completed WRAP, they may join an ongoing support group for WRAP graduates.

Mental Health First Aid is a free 8-hour class for anyone who wants to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, including risk factors and warning signs and how to respond to someone who is having a mental health crisis. NAMI coordinates classes for Law Enforcement, professionals working with youth, and the staff of faith communities, businesses, service agencies, and residents of McHenry County.