Real-world support groups

Talking about your situation on the Net may be unsatisfying for you and you may want something real and in-person. Here, then, is a catalog of real-world resources that can put you in touch with the help you want. This information comes from, and is biased towards the United States. If you know of any in your country, please let me know, and submit it to
National Association for the Mentally Ill
National. 1100 affiliates. Founded 1979. Network of self-help groups for relatives and individuals affected by mental illness. Emotional and educational support. Bi-monthly newsletter, affiliate development guidelines. Anti-discrimination campaign. Meets on America On Line. Visit their web site.
REACH ("Reassurance to Each")
Statewide. 20 groups in MN. Founded 1977. Groups for families and friends of persons with mental illness, for education and information. Groups are free, confidential and open to new participants at any time. Information and technical assistance available for starting REACH Groups. Contact: REACH, Mental Health Assn. of MN, 205 W. 2nd St., Suite 412, Duluth, MN 55802. Call (218)727-1468; within MN 800-315-5375; FAX: (218)726-0793.
Parents Involved Network
Statewide. Founded 1984. Parent-run, self-help/advocacy, information and referral for families of children/adolescents who have emotional or behavioral disorders. Provides support, telephone information and referral, and linkage with other parents and parent organizations across the state. Newsletter. Contact: Parents Involved Network, 1211 Chestnut St., 11th Fl., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Call 800-688-4226 or (215)751-1800; FAX: (215)636-6300. Online Contact:
Schizophrenia Society of Canada
National. 116 chapters. Founded 1979. Information, support and advocacy for families and friends of persons with schizophrenia. Public awareness campaigns, advocacy and fund-raising. Newsletter, guidelines and assistance for starting self-help groups. Information and referrals, phone help, conferences, brochures, handbooks, videos. Dues $5. Contact: Schizophrenia Society of Canada, 75 The Donway W., Suite 814, Don Mills, Ontario Canada M3C 2E9. Call (416)445-8204; FAX: (416)445-2270
Attachment Disorder Parents Network
National. 5 affiliated groups. Founded 1988. To promote understanding of attachment disorders in both parents and professionals. Information and support for parents dealing with children who have attachment disorders. Newsletter, phone support, information and referrals. Contact: Attachment Disorder Parents Network, P.O. Box 18475, Boulder, CO 80308. Call (303)443-1446.
F.A.I.R. (Family And Individual Reliance)
MODEL GROUP (Please see note below before contacting this group!) 5 groups. Founded 1981. Mutual support groups for persons with present or past mental or emotional illness. Separate groups for family and friends of such persons. Bi-annual retreat. "How-To" manual $12. Facilitators training manual $5. Quarterly newsletter. Contact: FAIR, c/o Mary Dees, Mental Health Assn. in Texas, 8401 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin, TX 78757. Call (512)454-3706.

Note: Model groups are not national or international groups. Contact this group only if your are interested in starting a similar group in your area or country. When writing to this group from the U.S.A., always include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. A small contribution toward their copying costs is also helpful. If you telephone, always be considerate of the time of day or night; most of these numbers are home phones.

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
National. 122 affiliated groups. Founded 1989. Parent-run organization focused on the needs of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders and their families. Provides information and advocacy; newsletter, conferences. Contact: Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, 1021 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2971. Call Barbara Huff (703)684-7710.
Relatives Project, The
National. 12 groups. Founded 1994. Self-help groups for families and friends of those with mental or emotional problems. Helps caregivers or those dealing with a troublesome relationship. Teaches coping skills and techniques to manage individual stress, to create a peaceful domestic environment. Assistance in starting new groups. Contact: Relatives Project, c/o Phyllis Berning, Abraham A. Low Institute, 550 Frontage Rd., Suite 2797, Northfield, IL 60093. Call (847)441-0445; FAX: (847)441-0446.
Spouse and Partners Council
National. 11 affiliated groups. Founded 1994. Mutual support to help well spouses deal with their partner's mental illness through support groups and phone support. Advocacy, conferences, workshops. Assistance in starting groups. Various dues. Sponsored by National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Contact: Spouse and Partners Council, P.O. Box 222, Augusta, Maine 04332. Call (207)622-5767 (voice/FAX).