For Family and Friends
Here are a few free regional, state and national resources for people who support individuals in their lives who are/were suffering from mental illness. Collectively, they offer a mix of education, skills training and self-care support. They can supplement therapy or be a stand-alone aid. Note: There are many more resources out there. This list is meant to help you get started in your search. Inclusion on the list does not represent an endorsement. Also, information included was accurate to the best of our knowledge, based on website reviews. Please check on your own to see if resources are still being offered or have changed.
For Those Supporting Others with Mental Health Conditions
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) NJ offers Family-to-Family, an education programfor family, friends and significant others of adults with mental health conditions. It provides information about a variety of mental health conditions, as well as communication, problem solving, treatment and recovery. It is designed to increase understanding and advocacy skills while helping participants maintain their own well-being. The program is taught by trained family members who have a loved one with a mental health condition. Classes have been offered both in-person and online. For more information: NAMI New Jersey, N Brunswick, NJ (naminj.org).
- NAMI NJ periodically offers a Family Support Group. This online support group for adult friends and family members (18+) of people with mental health conditions. Participants gain support from peers who understand their experience and gain insight into others’ challenges and successes. Go to NAMI New Jersey, N Brunswick, NJ (naminj.org) to register.
- NAMI NJ periodically offers a Sibling Support Group. This online support group is for individuals with a sibling who lives with mental illness. Gain support and share with others who can relate to your personal experiences. Participants must pre-register and be 18 years or older. Go to NAMI New Jersey, N Brunswick, NJ (naminj.org) to see if there is a group current being offered and to register.
- NAMI NJ periodically offers a Spouse/Partner Support Group online, for individuals with a spouse/partner who lives with mental illness. Gain support and share with others who can relate to your personal experiences. Participants must pre-register and be 18 years or older. Go to NAMI New Jersey, N Brunswick, NJ (naminj.org) to see if there is a group current being offered and to register.
- The Mental Health Association in Atlantic County offers Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS) for families of relatives with mental illness. Throughout NJ, many families take an active role in care for a relative who has mental illness. IFSS offers families a variety of services to help build coping skills to address these challenges. IFSS is open to all Atlantic County families with a relative with mental illness. Find out more: Services to Families – Mental Health Association New Jersey (mhaac.info).
- Mental Health America offers useful online information for caregivers to help them maintain their mental health and better assist loved ones with mental illness. Go to Mental Health Resources for Caregivers | Mental Health America (mhanational.org).
- The Mental Health Association of Atlantic County also offers on Acute Care Family (ACF) program, which assists families when their family member is in crisis and in need of treatment from the behavioral health acute care system. The staff engages with families, educating them about mental illness and offer resources and referrals that can help their loved one. Any family member in need of help can phone the On-Call Acute Line at 609-517-8614, 8 am to 8 pm daily, including weekends.
For Survivors of Suicide Loss
- Are you a loved one of someone who died by suicide? A psycho-educational group for survivors of suicide loss, sponsored by the Mental Health Association of NJ, meets via Zoom the first Monday of each month at 6:30 pm. Each meeting includes a topical focus and time for discussion and reflection. In addition, a general support group meets via Zoom on the third Monday of the month, same time. For information, e-mail [email protected] or call 609-377-5859.
For Those Supporting Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (or Significant Emotion Dysregulation)
- Do you have a loved one who deals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) or significant emotional dysregulation (ED)? The Family Connection program, offered by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, is a Zoom course offering education on BPD/ED, relationship skill-building based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), support from course leaders who also have a relationship with a person with BPD/ED, suggestions for taking care of yourself, and communication techniques. For more: The Family Connections Program | National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder.
For Families of Relatives with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- The Attention Deficit Disorder Association offers resources for people dealing with ADHD, some of which may be useful for families, such as webinars and parent/partner support groups. You need to become a member to access the resources. Find out more: Grow – ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
For Families of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Life on the Bright Side, a podcast from Isabella Mosca, founder of FACES 4 Autism, shines a light on families facing neurodiversity across the lifespan, uplifting caregivers to live their best lives with programs, events and workshops.
- The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) offers these supports for parents/families of adults 23 years old and older on are on the autism spectrum: (1) Online “Open” Community Connection Sessions for Parents/Families of Adults to help relieve isolation by connecting with community members and AANE staff. (2) Online “Closed” Support Groups for Parents and Families of Adults which have the same members for a set number of sessions. (3) Online “Open” Support Groups for Parents/Families of Adults which have an undefined number of group members with new people joining on a regular basis. (4) Online Discussion Forum for Parents and Families of Adults. See Support Options for Parents/Families of Post-High School Adults – The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE).
For Those Supporting a Person with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- The The International OCD Foundation offers a variety of information for families of individuals dealing with OCD. Go to International OCD Foundation | Families and OCD (iocdf.org).
For Those Supporting Someone with Tourette or Tic Disorders
- 2 resources from the Tourette Association of America: Impact of tourette on families, resources and Living with Tourette & Tic Disorders: A Guide for Patients and Families (Tool Kit).
For Parents/Caregivers of Persons with Mood Disorders
- The Parent and Caregiver Network is an online support community for parents and caregivers to find connections, resources, and hope. The Network was created to connect parents across the world who are raising children living with mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Our family-focused community provides reliable information to caregivers about mood disorders, treatment, school accommodations, research, and more. The online community has groups, forums, and other resources to support you along your journey. The discussion boards are moderated by dedicated volunteers who are parents and caregivers themselves and understand the realities of raising a child living with a mood disorder diagnosis.
For Those Supporting Persons with a Substance Use Disorder
- NJ Connect for Recovery is a free, confidential call line focused on helping family members and friends coping with a loved one’s substance use disorder. A service of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, NJ Connect for Recovery provides a safe, nonjudgmental place for individuals and family members to get counseling, and assistance from professional staff members on substance use issues. It provides emotional support, education, ongoing family and peer guidance and access to treatment options through REACHNJ. Calls are answered live at 855-652-3737 from 8 am – 10 pm on weekdays, 5 pm – 10 pm on weekends, and 3 pm – 10 pm on holidays. Call855-652-3737 for immediate guidance and support and get your substance use disorder questions answered.
For Those Supporting Persons with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors
- Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) include hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (excoriation/dermatillomania), nail biting (onychophagia), cheek biting (morsicatio buccarum), and other associated behaviors. They can cause significant shame and isolation due to societal stigmas and mischaracterization. If you have a loved one that experiences body-focused repetitive behaviors, the TLC Foundation offers a variety of health education and community programs to support the whole family. See Families – TLC Foundation for BFRBs as well as the other resources on this website.
For Those Supporting Persons with Eating Disorders
- Information resources: The National Alliance for Eating Disorders offers How To Support A Loved One. The National Eating Disorders Association offers How to Help a Loved One. The Emily Program offers Resources for Families. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders offers a Support at Every Stage booklet.
- FEAST provides support and resources for families affected by eating disorders. To get started, it offers a free 30-day program, which features daily emails and links to videos to help you learn about eating disorders, caregiving and the resources available for ongoing education. It introduces you to the peer support services offered by FEAST so that you can remain connected to vital information and support even after you complete FEAST 30 Days.
Contact the Mindful Counseling Center for a counseling appointment. Also note that Patrick Connelly, owner of the Mindful Counseling Center, specializes in caregiver issues via his private counseling practice, the Relationship Institute of New Jersey.