Success Stories

“NAMI saved my life, and helped me save my loved one. All NAMI members have experienced the heartbreak of seeing their loved one suffer, and have learned to cope, to help one another. I urge you to contact us with any questions at all. As an all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping others, NAMI – SFV has a wealth of information to share. We can’t make your loved one well, we can’t make everything right, but services like the free 12 week NAMI Family to Family class offer a real life tool kit that will prepare you for a difficult journey. The class will educate you about the various mental illnesses and teach you how to communicate with your mentally ill loved one, learn crisis skills, problem-solving skills, treatment knowledge, how to assist your ill relative to accept treatment, and how to see beyond the illness to the person you care so deeply about.“ -Anonymous

“My daughter is bi-polar and it was always a challenge raising her. I had heard of NAMI before, but didn’t think I needed it. When my daughter was hospitalized for the second time, I knew I needed support! I joined the local chapter and found out about the Family to Family course that was starting immediately. I learned so much from the classes. They helped me understand more about my daughter’s disability and what I could do to support her. My husband, step-daughter and her fiance plan to take the next FTF classes, and I was inspired to become active in the organization, including volunteering to help lead future FTF classes.” -Karyn S.

“I have been a member of NAMI for the past five years: before joining I was a nervous wreck/sleepless nights/crying and barely able to function. My daughter’s bi-polar illness was out of control and so was my life. Going to my first NAMI support group was very difficult: but I’m so glad I went. Five years later I can live and laugh again. Things have not changed for my daughter…but thanks to NAMI I have learned how to cope. My group work and Family-to-Family classes have taught me courage and compassion. JOIN NAMI NOW. We can help.” -Shirley Grayer

“In Dec 2003 my Son had a major break. He committed several felonies, including nearly killing me (52 stitches). I went into a severe depression and went on Paxil to help this. My Doctor recommended a support group and I sought out NAMI. I was helped dramatically by this support and have since helped teach two of the family to family support classes. NAMI has provided support and insight that I could not have gotten elsewhere. I thank the organization and am grateful that my son will be moving back into society sometime in the near future (he has had major help from the State of California).“ -Martin L. Pfeffer

“I thank God for a friend who put me in touch with a wonderful woman named Marilee in NAMI. We were so bewildered and confused when our son was abruptly stricken with schizophrenia. It was like our son as we knew him was kidnapped and we were left with some terrible imposter. The system of hospitalization was not sympathetic to us and left us with little hope and education. We were in the dark. The phone call I made to Marilee in NAMI was so helpful and I eventually got in a support group and later took the Family to Family course. It has changed my life and indeed saved my life. We still struggle with this illness as it pertains to our son and the many struggles he faces today. I have much hope today and understand so much more what the illness is. Give yourself a gift and give NAMI a try. It will change your life.“ -Karen Tucker

“Before I found NAMI I was on the brink of breakdown, my mom who suffered from depression and anxiety, had sapped all my energy in my life. I could not sleep, was spiraling down in confusion, was often depressed as I saw my life going down the drain trying to taker care of her and feeling a sense of obligation and guilt. Thank God for the day I found help thru the local support group and later education programs of our local NAMI affiliate that guided me into new ways to look at and see the problems. It changed my life and saved my life.” -Milton Decker

“Before I heard about NAMI through a very caring co-worker, my husband and I had been going through a tragic 1 1/2 years dealing with his severely debilitating depression and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Even though he was on medications, I didn’t know where to find any support for me or my family in knowing how to work through this extremely difficult life-change. I am so thankful to have taken the 12 week NAMI education class; it has been a life saver for me. I now have a better understanding of this illness and how to support my husband. Having a new network of friends dealing with a similar illness with a loved one has made the world of difference for me. I no longer feel so totally alone in this. NAMI is the indispensable education and support link for families going through this very difficult illness with a loved one. I just can’t say enough great things about NAMI and all the amazing, compassionate people who make it what it is.” -Signed, a very grateful member of NAMI

“My younger sister has been diagnosed with schizophrenia for about 25 years. She’s been very paranoid, so our relationship has been broken. This makes me feel so drained and breaks my heart. I was so frustrated and didn’t know who or how to seek help. One day, I was introduced to San Fernando Valley ‘s NAMI web site. Ever since I attended NAMI meetings and learned from the special speakers during the question and answer times, I learned a lot about the wealth of resources available to us and a lot of valuable information. I can’t express how much I appreciate each and every helper whose names I’d like to recognize (if they don’t mind): Mr. Tom Walsh, Mrs. Suzanne, Mr. Jim Randell, Dr. Kline, Dr. Michelle, Ms. Kimber; and to our FTF class instructors Mr. Milton Decker and Mrs. Sue Musa, and also the greatest help from Ms. Soo Min Park from the Asian Pacific Mental Counseling and Treatment Center. Thank the grace of God for helping me through this crisis!!” - Anonymous

“Our family was in turmoil as our loved one’s behavior became extreme. We were beside ourselves and totally unprepared to deal with mental illness. A close, personal friend directed us to NAMI, where we immediately were welcomed by others sympathetic to our situation because they had been there too. While things at home are far from ideal, they are improving. I do not know where we would be today without the support and care we received from this splendid organization. Thank God for NAMI and the wonderful people who volunteer their time and donate their money to help those of us in our time of need!” -David

“I was in the middle of a crisis with my brother who is diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, when I found NAMI. NAMI gave me the support, helped me understand mental illness & gave me tools to be able to handle crisis & know where to go to ask for help. I am very grateful that I found NAMI & I continue to benefit from the organization’s ongoing support — whether the circumstances are extreme or if I simply need further information or a valuable contact.” -SM

NAMI and ME, “We have been friends for years. This is the only place I can go and talk about my sons mental illness. My experiences with the illness has been repeated so many times over in other people lives. I can share what happened when my son has an episode and their is someone there that has also been through it. I could have never imagined their were so many people out their like me. NAMI has shown me we are not alone, and together we can make a difference.” -Mary Michels 

"Our Stories: Things We Know Now We Wish We Knew Before" (Dec. 2011

A Wisdom Legacy book
by NAMI San Fernando Valley

Our Stories Wisdom Legacy

NAMI SFV authors Wisdom Legacy book featuring stories of families and individuals impacted by Mental Illness.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) San Fernando Valley has partnered with Wisdom Legacy to create a book about living with mental illness. Family members and individuals living with mental illness contribute deeply personal stories to an online forum created by Wisdom Legacy with the goal of capturing and publishing one million stories.

Nearly 50 NAMI members took part in the project, sharing the wisdom and insight of their experiences. “Our Stories: Things We Know Now We Wish We Knew Before” is a soft-bound book, 182 pages, with stories of the trials and triumphs of living with severe Mental Illness, recovery and treatment tips, and a glossary of mental health terms.

The book is available for sale at $9.95 online and at NAMI SFV Expert Speaker Meetings. The book will also be provided to community organizations that will benefit from a deeper understanding of living with mental illness. For more information Email us or call 818-994-6747

Each purchase made through this website generates a portion-of-proceeds donation and provides much-needed funding for NAMI SFV programs and services.

Available Now! Learn more about Wisdom Legacy.