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!
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.
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.
Mental health is a fundamental building block for a flourishing community. Community engagement is one of the many ways that FERC connects and stays connected to our community. We are always working to connect with more Community Based Organizations in order to always have the best resources and education available to you. The relationship that FERC has with our Family Members is one of high value and we are always working to find ways to better your experience with us. We want to have events tailored to you and your experience, a safe space to focus on your own self-care, and a welcoming environment for you to grow and learn as you maneuver the mental health care system of Alameda County.
Our goal is to be able to make our services as accessible and relevant as possible. If there is a service gap, we want to bridge it. If there is a need, we want to fulfill it. We also seek to destigmatize mental health in the community through our outreach.
If you are a part of a Community Based Organization and are interested in collaborating with us, please reach out to the Community Engagement Manager, Bianca Anderson.
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.
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.