Category Archives: News

2017 NAMI CCNS Summer Family to Family

REGISTER TODAY! 2017 Summer Family to Family (of Adults) Class

Here is the Summer 2017 Schedule for Family to Family

* Click to download a PDF *

2017 NAMI CCNS Summer Family to Family

Please call Fay Anderson for more information:  847-716-2252 or or use our CLASS INQUIRY FORM


Do You Have a Loved One Living with Mental Illness?

NAMI Cook County North Suburban Offers Free

Family to Family Education Programs

Education and Support for Families who have adult relatives with mental illness.

The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program

is a 12-week course for families and close friends of adults with mental illness.

This course is taught by trained teachers who are also family members and know what it is like to have a loved one living with mental illness, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Many family members describe this experience as life-changing.  Join the thousands of families, just like yours, who have gained information, understanding, and support.

  Family to Family participants:

  • Learn about family responses to the trauma of mental illness
  • Receive current information on serious mental illnesses
  • Learn about symptoms, medications and side effects
  • Practice problem-solving skills and communication techniques
  • Develop strategies for handling crises and relapses
  • Learn about local community resources and supports
  • Focus on self-care and coping with stress


Summer – 2017     

Tuesday evenings, June 6 – August 29, (off July 4) 6:30 – 9:00 pm,

                at Skokie Hospital, 9600 Gross Point Rd, Skokie

               Free, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED  please call 847-716-2252

Commitment to attend the 12 classes is required

Sponsored by NAMI Cook County North Suburban   847-716-2252 Visit us at

Family to Family Classes

Class 1 – Introduction To Family to Family Education
The first class is used to introduce the Co-Trainers and welcome the class attendees. An overview of the 12 week course is also provided. The first day focuses on the course curriculum, our emotional reactions to mental illness, getting to know each other, our personal belief systems, our personal goals and general understanding of illness symptoms as outlined.

Class 2 – The 3 Major Mental Illnesses/Critical Periods
In the second class, the format will change slightly to begin with a lecture on the symptoms and diagnosis of schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. The talk will particularly focus the manic phase of bipolar disorder, psychosis, the process of diagnosis, stigma, myths versus the real risks of mental disorders, and dealing with critical periods in mental illness. The format follows seven immediate questions surrounding these critical periods.

Class 3 – Types and Subtypes of Mood Disorders
In the third class, the group will review mood disorders and anxiety disorders. The symptoms and diagnosis of the various forms of depression are discussed, as well as those of anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The class also learns about the evolution of recognition for these diseases, including the challenges to diagnosis, the relapsing nature of the disorders, and how treatment relates to diagnosis. The class will also learn about overlaps between diagnosis and borderline personality disorder, as well as the significant issue of dual diagnosis and the complications of addiction. The group will also discuss their personal experiences.

Class 4 – Basics About the Brain
The fourth class mixes lectures and discussion about the basics of brain research and how the brain functions with mental illness. The surge in new information from research on the complex biology of the brain has presented discovery after discovery on the physical basis of mental disorders and theories on the edge of new research. The class will also learn and discuss the genetic side of brain disorders, the time of greatest conflict in the stages of consumer recovery and stages of family emotional response, and an overview of the recuperation process.

Class 5 – Problem Solving Workshop
The fifth class focuses takes the problem statement, completed in Class 4, through the Problem Solving Skills Workshop. This Workshop will present structure for the problem pile-up that often occurs in families living with mental illness. Participants will simplify and define the single most important problem, evaluate and use different solution strategies, and set appropriate limits.

Class 6 – Medication Review: Basic Psychopharmacology of Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Schizophrenia & Key Treatment Issues
The sixth class will return to a feast of information, this time about medications. After establishing the ground rules, the group will learn about and discuss the medication process from molecular level to side effects and helping our loved ones stay on target with regimen adherence. The participants will also learn how to recognize early warning signs of relapse and gain a sense of what our family member is experiencing as they begin treatment.

Class 7 – Inside Mental Illness: Empathy Workshop
In the seventh class, the group will learn more about the perspective, trauma and demoralization experienced by the person living with mental illness. The group will explore two case histories, stories of people with brain disorders and how they adjust and react to this vast alteration of their life circumstances and expectations. Participants will explore how illness relates to self-regard and learn guidelines to help families help their relatives maintain self-esteem and confidence.

Class 8 – Communication Skills Workshop
In the eighth class will focus on improved communication skills with a family member whose illness can inhibit the processing of information as well as family members who are uncertain of how to proceed with emotional expression. The group will learn more about how their family member may be organizing complex ideas and how to exchange emotional information in a more constructive way, as well as practice these methods in a group exercise. This will help family members connect to the person “behind the symptoms”.

Class 9 – Relative Groups/Self-Care
The ninth class serves to introduce ways to care for the self while taking on the responsibility for care of a relative with a mental disorder, particularly when there is so little social and public support for this kind of family crisis. Participants will discuss both the practical and emotional burdens of coping with these types of diseases, overcoming guilt and shame about our feelings regarding our new role in the family. Frankness and honesty are encouraged as the participants meet in small subgroups to share their feelings. The entire group will then discuss ways to achieve a balance between caring for our ill relative while living our own lives as fully as possible.

Class 10 – Recovery & Rehabilitation
The tenth class introduces the new realities of recovery and rehabilitation in mental illness, a change in future possibilities in the lives of our ill loved ones that did not seem possible until ten years ago. The class will also discuss the current system of support, both socially and in terms of community resources, and how to find assistance and advocate for the creation of the best rehabilitation programs. There will also be a one hour special presentation by a visiting speaker.

Class 11 – Advocacy
The eleventh class brings facts about stigma, public misinformation, and social services failures surrounding mental illness. The group will learn more about NAMI’s Campaign for the Mind of America and other campaigns to fight discrimination and demand better services for people with brain disorders. A class discussion will focus on the real need for advocacy and what each individual can do to improve public treatment of mental illness in each community.

Class 12 – Certification & Celebration
The twelfth and final class presents certification of completion of the Family to Family Course. The participants will evaluate their experience and also learn more about local support groups. Last but not least, a celebration of new knowledge and support, as well as a last moment of sharing before the close of the course.


2017 NAMI CCNS NEWSLINE! – April, May, June

* Click for PDF *

Newsline is changing!



NAMI CCNS Newsline is being redesigned to be more user-friendly on our web page and smartphones. A print version will be downloadable. If you have been receiving Newsline in your regular mail, you will continue to receive it.

We plan to issue the next Newsline in July 2017. In the meantime . . .


April, May, June 2017

Mark your calendars!


Monday, April 17

Adolescent Mental Health: Current Trends
Public Education Program
7 pm at the Northbrook Public Library 1201 Cedar Ln, Northbrook, IL 60062

Twenty percent of youth aged 13-18 live with a mental health condition. Complicating matters further is the issue of co-occuring drug abuse. Drug abuse may bring about symptoms of an unrecognized mental illness, while mental disorders can lead to drug abuse, possibly as a means of “self-medication.”Deborah Taber, Administrative Director of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences for the Northshore University Medical System, will review how school demands, drug use, social media and gender identity issues can create a mental health crisis.


Saturday, April 22

Heroes of Mental Health: NAMI CCNS Spring 2017 Benefit
Glen View Club, 100 Golf Road, Golf, Illinois 60029

Please join us on Saturday evening, April 22nd, to celebrate the NAMI CCNS 2017 Heroes of Mental Health. Our Honored Guest Speaker is Suzy Favor Hamilton, three-time Olympian and mental health advocate. Suzy will share her story about her experiences with bipolar disorder as well as her struggles with life during and after running, drawing from her best-selling autobiography, Fast Girl – A Life Spent Running from Madness.

Also being honored are Virgina and Tom Neuckranz, founders of Erika’s Lighthouse; Lundbeck Pharmaceutical Services, LLC; and the Winnetka Congregational Church Women’s Society Benevolence Committee.

The Neuckranzes turned the tragic loss of their daughter Erika, who died by suicide on April 8, 2004 when she was in 8th grade, into a mission to educate school communities about teen depression, eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and empower teens to take charge of their mental health.

Lundbeck Pharmaceutical Services and the Winnetka Congregational Church Women’s Society Benevolence Committee are long-time supporters of NAMI CCNS whose generous gifts have made it possible for us to offer all our programs free of charge to participants.

6:30 pm Cash Bar and Silent Auction
7:30 pm Dinner, Dancing, Program, Silent/Live Auction/Fund to Cause
To purchase tickets or make a donation, go to our web site, email, or call 847-716-2252.


Tuesday, April 25 – May 30

NAMI Basics for Parents
6:30pm at Messiah Lutheran Church
1605 Vernon Avenue, Park Ridge, IL, 60068

If you have a child with emotional or behavioral difficulties, NAMI Basics for Parents can help. The course is free to participants and provides information on the mental health conditions that cause behavioral difficulties, the biology of mental illness, and strategies for advocating for your child at school and with medical professionals, and more. NAMI Basics for Parents “provides help that can’t be found in a doctor’s office,” according to one of our class participants.

To register or learn more, go to our web site, email, or call 847-716-2252.

Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6

Are You Ready To Tag for Mental Health Awareness??

NAMI CCNS holds our annual Tag Day in May to kick of Mental Health Awareness Month.

You can end the stigma surrounding mental illness and raise funds for NAMI CCNS education, support and advocacy programs. All NAMI programs are free-of-charge to participants.

Please share some of your time on May 5th and May 6th from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. To sign up, go to our web site, email, or call 847-716-2252.


Saturday, May 20

StorySLAM: Courage
7 – 9 PM at Sojourner Covenant Church, 1101 Church Street, Evanston

Open Mike for individuals living with a mental health condition – either their own or someone they love – to share their story.
Share and listen. You can change the conversation about mental illness.


Thursday, May 25 to June 8 2017 NAMI CCNS NEWSLINE

Honest, Open, Proud
2 pm at Turning Point, 8324 Skokie Blvd, Skokie

What is your story of living with a mental health diagnosis? Not sure what to say, to whom, and when? Thinking about sharing with someone for the first time or becoming an advocate for mental health? Honest, Open, Proud is a six week workshop that helps individuals living with a mental health condition develop a strategy for sharing their story in a way that that is empowering for you – and for those who listen to your story.


Thursdays, starting May 25 

Dual Solutions Recovery Group
6 pm at Chicago Behavioral Hospital, 555 Wilson Lane, Des Plaines

Dealing with a dual diagnosis can feel challenging and isolating. Support groups allow members to share frustrations, successes, referrals for specialists, where to find the best community resources and tips on what works best when trying to recover. They also form friendships and provide encouragement to stay clean.

All NAMI CCNS support groups continue to be offered regularly:

Connections Recovery Support Groups
• Mondays, 4 – 5:30 pm at Beth Emet Synagogue, 1224 West Dempster, Evanston
• Saturdays, 4 – 5:30 pm at Lutheran General Hospital, 1775 West Dempster, Park Ridge
• First and Third Sundays, 1 – 2:30 pm, Kenneth Young Center Drop-In, 1585 West Dempster, Mt. Prospect

Family Support Groups
• Second and Fourth Mondays, 7 – 8:30 pm at Skokie Hospital Medical Office Building, 9669 Kenton, Skokie
• First and Third Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm at Lutheran General Hospital Campus, Center for Advance Care Building, 1700 Luther Lane, Park Ridge
• Second Thursday, 7 – 8:30 pm at Highland Park Hospital, 777 Park Avenue West, Highland Park
• Second and Fourth Saturday, 9 – 10:30 am at St. Francis Hospital, 355 Ridge Avenue, Evanston

Spanish Language Family Support
• First and Third Tuesdays, 7 – 8:30 pm, 7020 Lawndale, Lincolnwood

Times and locations subject to change. For additional information call 847-716-2252

Amazon Smile fundraiser for NAMI CCNS

You can donate while you shop for others at

Support us when you shop on amazon. #StartWithaSmile at and Amazon donates to NAMI Cook County North Suburban.





Sponsor NAMICCNS 5k Walks & Runs! Sunday September 24, 2017

* Click here for PDF *

Sponsor and donate HERE!

Register to walk/run HERE!


Sponsorship Letter:

It may surprise you to learn that an average of one of every five of the employees at your company/organization will experience a mental health disorder each year.  In fact, the World Health Organization reports that mental illness is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.  Most people will struggle with mental illness at some point in their lifetime, either personally or through a close family member or friend. Unfortunately, despite the amount of people struggling with mental health related issues, the concept of mental illness is constantly stigmatized, avoided, and disregarded. As a result, those struggling with mental illness do not always receive the resources, support, and advocacy they need and deserve. NAMI CCNS is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with mental illness and those who love and care for them to provide just that.

On Sunday, September 24, 2017,(Evanston/Northwestern lakefront 5k walk/run) you have the opportunity to help by participating in our national walk/run. The goal is to raise both money and awareness. The proceeds from the 2017 WALK/RUN including money raised through corporate sponsorship will be used by NAMI CCNS in the following ways:

  • To provide support to people with mental illness and to their families
  • To educate families and those who have a mental illness
  • To advocate for nondiscriminatory and equitable policies at the federal, state, and local level and in the private sector
  • To advocate for improved opportunities for housing, rehabilitation, and meaningful jobs
  • To support research into the causes, systems and treatments of brain disorders
  • To support public education programs designed to help eliminate the pervasive stigma surrounding severe mental illness

We urge your organization to sponsor our Walk/RUN not just because of the visibility we can offer, but also because of the support and education NAMI CCNS provides for our community at large at no cost.  With WALK/RUN funding, we hold support groups for those with severe mental illness and their families, teach classes to educate family members, police, and social workers about mental illness, and empower those with severe mental illness to educate the community.

Won’t you please help us meet the many needs of those with mental illness and their families by becoming a Walk sponsor?  NAMI CCNS is requesting a sponsorship for our walk/run 2017.  If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at or at 847-716-2252 or

Thank you in advance for your support.


Susan Ockerlund
Development Director NAMI CCNS


2017 Spring Basics for Parents Class – *Starts April 25* in Park Ridge

* Click here for PDF download *

Do You Have a Child
with Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties?

NAMI Basics for Parents Class provides Education and Support for You, Your Family, and Your Child

FREE, six week course offered for parents or family caregivers of school-age children and adolescents with mental health issues.

Classes include:

Understanding the illnesses that are causing the behavioral difficulties
The biology of mental illness; getting an accurate diagnosis—, anxiety disorders, depression, ADD, ODD, OCD, childhood bipolar disorder, and others
Tools for the toolbox – communication skills, problem solving, crisis preparation, handling challenging behaviors, and the impact on family members
Record keeping and dealing with the systems your child is involved in school, mental health, and juvenile justice
Taught by trained teachers who are also the parents of children with emotional or behavioral difficulties

Offered Spring 2017– Park Ridge

Messiah Lutheran Church, Park Ridge
1605 Vernon Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068

Tuesday evenings, 6:30—9:00 pm, April 25 – May 30

Call 847-716-2252 for info and to register. 
Commitment to attend the entire six-week course is required.

Participant Perspectives – “This is such a great step-by-step program that walks parents every step of the way. It is as if you are holding their hand through it all.”
“NAMI Basics bridges the gap. It provides help that can’t be found in a doctor’s office.”

Sponsored by NAMI Cook County North Suburban


* Click for PDF flyer download *