Caregiver Education, Advocacy & Support

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. Through our programming, we educate our families about mental health treatment, we advocate on behalf of our families to ensure they are part of the dialogue, and we support our families through support groups, phone calls, and in-person meetings.

Our programs live under the trauma-informed care model, which means we recognize the impact of trauma, the trauma of institutionalized racism, and the importance of being compassionate and supportive through building a sense of empowerment in all of our work. We offer services, support groups, and training at no cost. To learn more, contact us today!


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

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



For families who need emotional support, a friendly voice that understands, and access to mental health recovery resources, FERC offers a Warmline run by our bilingual (English/Spanish) Warmline Coordinator. Our Warmline is a non-crisis information and referral phone number that helps connect families to Family Advocates, FERC services, and relevant mental health resources. The FERC Warmline operates Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm. If an individual reaches our Warmline outside of the covered hours, we suggest they leave a voicemail and we will answer their inquiry the next business day. In the case of a mental health crisis, please call 988 and in the case of a medical or psychiatric emergency, we recommend calling 911.

You can reach our Warmline at (888) 896-3372.

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.

Family Navigation

Family Navigation is at the heart of what we do at FERC. While each of our client’s situations are unique, most of our Family Advocates spend their time and efforts on service provision around each of the following areas. Contact us today to connect with a Family Advocate.

We provide an orientation to the Alameda County mental health system and give families detailed information about how the system works and what services are available for their loved one. In addition to helping families understand what services are available, we help them map out services that match their unique situations and goals. We also provide education about mental health medication, and context about mental health treatment options.

In our experience, confusion about patient and family rights makes it difficult for families to advocate for their loved ones, especially during a crisis. We help educate families on these privacy and confidentiality regulations, like the release of information (ROI) process, HIPAA, and legislation that protects the rights of the family to provide information to treatment teams like AB-1424. Families can come to us to help them locate and fill out forms. We support family members to become stronger advocates for themselves and their loved ones.

We collaborate with community partners and mental health providers to build multi-disciplinary teams for families and their loved ones. We actively participate in liaison roles with our key partners. We advocate on behalf of families and share our expertise. When invited, we can attend appointments and act as a member of the loved one’s care team; including attending IEP meetings and court dates.

We support family caregivers in-person, by phone, or through virtual consultations. We can attend support groups, and offer support debriefs and treatment planning suggestions based on our own experience and our years of working with other families.

Support Groups

You’re Not Alone

We believe support groups are an important part of self-care for family members/caregivers. Support groups bring family members together to share their experiences as caregivers. Family members can give each other encouragement, comfort, and share coping strategies. Support groups are helpful in creating non-judgmental spaces, reducing burn-out, promoting empowerment, and receiving feedback and insight from people who understand. Visit a support group to take the first step toward investing in your self-care.

I Matter

As family members, we believe that sometimes it is important to take a break for ourselves and find time to connect and unwind. The I*Matter program is a monthly group outing among family members that consist of activities to promote our own wellness and recovery. From book clubs to art exhibits, I*Matter is an opportunity to slow down and meet other people who share our experiences as family members. What’s the difference between a FERC support group and I*Matter? In addition to having a network of people who can empathize with what you and your family may be experiencing, I*Matter is an activity-based way to have fun and bring the focus back to you. It brings the focus back to YOU. Contact us today to learn about our next outing.

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)

WRAP is an array of self-care tools that promote recovery, help identify ways to stay well, and plan for distressing experiences or triggers that may occur.  Family members focus a lot of their energy and attention on taking care of their loved one. WRAP is a useful tool for family members who want to create positive change in their life. WRAP doesn’t require a mental health diagnosis to participate and is an evidence-based self-care model of how we can all take better care of ourselves. Contact us to find out when our next WRAP for family members will be offered.

NAMI Family-to-Family Classes

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a free, 8-session educational program for families, significant others, and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition. NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have lived experiences, and includes presentations, discussions, and interactive exercises.

Contact Us

To Get the Support You Need

Being a caregiver can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Family Education & Resource center supports the families and caregivers of children, youth, adults, and seniors working through mental health conditions. Our dedicated team, extensive program offerings, peer support groups, and resource library are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to connect with an advocate.