Family Education
& Resource Center

Our mission is to educate, advocate, and encourage self-care for family members navigating complex behavioral health systems to ensure their loved ones with mental health challenges are provided the best care. We are a team of family caregivers who believe that families know their loved ones best, and therefore should be involved in their care. We help amplify the voices of family members and bridge the communication gap between providers and families.

According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), one in five adults experiences a mental health condition in a given year. Mental health impacts all communities regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or age. Even still, stigma and discrimination prevent millions of families from seeking education and support for their loved ones dealing with mental health conditions.

At FERC, we know first-hand that family members play a significant role in their loved one’s recovery and should be able to share beneficial information with the providers who are treating their loved one. Unfortunately, not all providers welcome caregivers to the table to hear how things are going at home. This is where FERC steps in. FERC helps to bridge this communication gap between providers and the family of the loved one. We educate our families while simultaneously working with providers, so that they can view their patient’s caregivers as allies instead of adversaries.

We offer a holistic approach to working with our families that include: (1) providing education so our families are well-informed about mental health diagnoses and treatment options, (2) equipping families to become stronger advocates with knowledge around HIPAA Laws and family/patient rights, and (3) supporting caregivers’ well-being as peer-listeners to mitigate burn-out and strengthen their self-care.

We have been called the carriers of hope. We hold hope for our clients when they can’t fathom a hopeful future themselves.

The Family Education and Resource Center (FERC) is a family-centered program that provides free education, advocacy, and support to family caregivers of a loved one with mental health issues living in all regions of Alameda County. What makes FERC unique is that all of our staff have family or loved ones with mental health conditions.

Since 2009, FERC has served over 20,000 families. We help families navigate complex systems, educate family members about their and their loved one’s rights, and encourage self-care through our dedication and compassion.

FERC’s bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural staff offer culturally responsive programming and services to families living in all regions of Alameda County. We offer foundational resources that help guide and orient families, and are translated in the county’s five threshold languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Farsi). If we don’t have the in-house language capacity, we try our best to connect our families with available and appropriate resources in their preferred language. We also partner with culturally appropriate organizations to offer referrals to places that our families feel most comfortable receiving services. Our offices are located in Oakland, Fremont, and Livermore.

We’ve been there, and we can help.

FERC is a program of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County funded through the Mental Health Services Act and operated under contract with Alameda County Behavioral Health.

Click the links below to see our updated brochures.

Program Brochure (English)

Program Brochure (Spanish)



Family Education & Resource Center
7677 Oakport St. Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94621

Warm Line: (888) 896-3372
Office: (510) 746-1700

“You were there for me when even my own family and friends didn’t know what to do anymore…not because they don’t love me…but they couldn’t understand what I was going through. Thank you for being there and helping us as a whole.”

Family Member

“I was about to give up. I’m glad I didn’t. My family is forever grateful to FERC.”


“Knowing that you’re family members too – I know you GET IT. I don’t have to explain or defend myself…and that feels good.”


“You held the hope for us even when we didn’t think hope was even possible.”

Family Member

“Thank you for sharing that you too can empathize with my situation…I always felt alone and ashamed. You really made me understand that this is not only going on in my family…and it’s NOT our fault.”



Join the Team

FERC is currently looking for a Family Advocate to add to our team! If you are, or have been, a family member or primary caregiver responsible for the life of a loved one with a serious mental illness or emotional disturbance whether biologically related or not, we encourage you to apply for a full time position. This is your opportunity to use your personal, lived experience to serve other family members and caregivers who need hope and support. This position does not require on-the-job in the mental health field.