• Course regularity: 1 session / week
  • Session length: 2.5 hours
  • Completion time: 8 weeks
  • Location: Online (Zoom)
  • Cost: Free

Who Can Attend

Families, significant others, or friends of a loved one with a serious mental illness

Course Dates

Spring 2024:

March 19 – May 7
Tuesdays, 6:00PM – 8:30PM

March 28 – May 16
Thursdays, 10:00AM – 12:30PM

Fall 2024:

Starting September 2024 – Dates to TBC
Tuesday evenings – online
Thursday evenings – online
Saturday mornings – in person, North Vancouver

Winter 2024: To be determined

About this course

The Family-to-Family education course is from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. The course is licensed and adapted for use in British Columbia. It is a designated evidence-based program. This means that according to research, attending this course significantly increases the problem-solving and communication skills of those supporting a loved one with a serious mental illness.

Based on the trauma model of education, the course utilizes a unique combination of healing, consciousness-raising and empowerment to address the long-neglected needs of those caring for a loved one with a serious mental illness.

The course is taught by two trained Course Leaders, who have lived experience of caring for a friend, sibling, partner, or child with a serious mental illness.

During this 8-week course, you will understand more about different mental illnesses and find out how to navigate the B.C. Mental health system. In addition, you will develop a range of practical communication and problem-solving skills to help you better care for your ill loved one and yourself.

Furthermore, throughout the course you will have regular opportunities to share your lived experience and knowledge with others and create lasting connections with a community that has similar experiences to you.

Family-to-Family is one of Pathways’ most popular programs and now runs three times a year. Due to COVID-19, we are currently offering the course online.

What will you learn?

  • Up-to-date information on mental illnesses and how they affect the brain
  • Current treatments and therapies
  • How to navigate the mental health system in B.C.
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • Compassion-centered approaches for supporting a loved one with a mental health condition
  • Ways to handle a crisis
  • Advocating for care for your ill loved one
  • Managing the emotions and self-care 

Who can attend?

This course is strictly for families, significant others, and friends of a loved one with a serious mental illness, including anxiety disorders, PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, concurrent disorders, and schizophrenia.

If you are going through crisis, we highly recommend using our one-on-one peer support services and contacting our Support Coordinator, Valeska Gauthier. We also recommend joining one of our support groups. In our experience, families gain a lot more from the course if they are in a place of relative stability while taking it.

Course details

  • 8 sessions
  • online (Zoom)
  • one 2.5 hour session/week
  • peer-led
  • fixed cohort

Session format

Each class, you will complete worksheets and activities as a group. There will be regular opportunities in each session to share your experiences and knowledge with the group. From time to time, you will be assigned readings to prepare for the next class.

You will have access to all necessary course materials in PDF format online.

Participants will be expected to enable their camera in every online session. This is because we know that face-to-face interaction is generally more effective. It also encourages more authentic connection. All in all, enabling the camera helps to create a safe and trusting environment for participants.

Contact us

If you have any questions before signing up, please get in touch.

Program Coordinator: programs@pathwayssmi.org

Office: 604-926-0856