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While you can find many Web sites that contain information on mental illness and care giving, the sites below may be particularly useful to family members.

National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
NARSAD is the largest donor-supported organization in the world dedicated to the support of scientific research on brain and behavior disorders. The Web site features brief fact sheets on various mental disorders, offers order forms for free NARSAD publications, and highlights opportunities for families to participate in research either as study participants or as donors.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
NAMI is a not-for-profit organization comprised of more than 168,000 family members and advocates who seek to improve research and services for people with serious psychiatric illnesses. The NAMI Web site offers a vast array of pertinent information for family members and the general public including information on policy, research, medications, books on mental illness, notification of meetings, and news concerning mental illness.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of New York State
(NAMI-NYS)  Focused on the need for self-help, support, and advocacy for families and friends of persons with severe mental illnesses, this site includes information about the state organization and its local affiliates. Other site resources include referral services, favorite links and updates on important advocacy issues such as mental health parity.
National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
This site educates patients, families, and the public concerning the nature and treatment of depressive and manic-depressive illness.
National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH provides information on federally supported mental health research activities, including grants and contracts. The “For the Public” section offers information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. Brochures, information sheets, reports, press releases, fact sheets, and other educational materials are all available. The NIMH site also includes a publications order form (most publications are free), as well as press advisories and news on research findings.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
A sister agency to NIMH and NIDA, NIAAA provides information and publications relating to alcohol use and abuse. Many of the pamphlets and brochures are available in both English and Spanish.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The NIDA Web site provides a vast array of information for researchers, health professionals, parents, teachers, and students. The site offers up-to-date news, research reports, fact sheets, information about common drugs of abuse, and information about co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Popular on-line publications on various aspects of drug abuse are available on the site.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) This federal site provides information about and links to each of the three Centers under SAMHSA (the Center for Mental Health Services, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment). Much of the emphasis of the site is on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse problems including, but not limited to, persons with severe mental illnesses.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
 The professional association of child and adolescent psychiatrists established this site to provide information on legislation, advocacy, and research concerning child and adolescent psychiatry. Produced in English, Spanish, German, and French, the section of the site entitled “Facts for Families” provides easy-to-digest fact sheets describing the range of psychiatric disorders which may affect children and adolescents.
American Psychiatric Association
 This Web site was developed by the professional organization representing more than 40,000 psychiatrists in the U.S. and abroad who specialize in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders. The site provides information about psychiatric conditions for the general public and links to other mental health sites.
National Mental Health Association
Founded in 1909 by Clifford Beers, a former psychiatric patient, the National Mental Health Association was the nation’s first citizen volunteer advocacy organization. Much of the emphasis of the organization is on advocacy, prevention, information and referral, and public education. The site provides information and legislative alerts on public policies affecting persons with mental illness.
National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse
Funded by the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services, this site provides information for mental health consumers including descriptions of current activities, upcoming conferences, scholarship and employment opportunities, and a catalog of publications. Also available at the site is a sign-up area for consumers interested in joining an e-mail group focused on their concerns.
New York State Office of Mental Health
OMH operates all psychiatric centers across the state and also regulates, certifies and oversees more than 2,500 community programs, operated by non-profit agencies and local governments. This site provides information on these facilities, an organizational chart, the OMH strategic statement, and details of OMH regulations, including those currently under public review. The site also includes current and back issues of the OMH Quarterly, the agency’s quarterly publication.
The New York State Psychiatric Institute
NYSPI is one of two New York State research facilities funded by the Office of Mental Health. This site provides information on research, education and training, and clinical services.
New York University Department of Psychiatry
This site offers general information on the department, which is affiliated with the Nathan Kline Institute, and includes a special section for the public with information on.

Disclaimer Notice: We cannot assume any responsibility for the content or accuracy of the material contained in the links above, nor do they necessarily reflect the official policies of the New York State Office of Mental Health or any of its facilities. While the Internet can be an extremely useful resource, you should always consult a physician regarding specific concerns about the diagnosis and treatment of a serious mental disorder affecting yourself or a family member.

The Office of Recipient Affairs acts as a liaison between the County Mental Health Department and recipients of mental health services in Westchester County. The office promotes awareness of recovery, self-help and empowerment to recipients and providers of mental health services. The recipient affairs specialist has an integral role in assisting the department’s planning, implementation and evaluation of mental health programs. The Office of Recipient Affairs provides technical assistance to local recipient initiatives, self-help groups and recipient-run programs. 

The recipient affairs specialist facilitates and coordinates the Recipient Advisory Committee. The advisory committee consists of 15 members who are recipients of mental health services in Westchester County. The committee provides vital feedback to the county about the mental health system of care from a recipient perspective.

For more information about the Office of Recipient Affairs, call (914) 995-5132 or e-mail .

The newly forming DCMH Recipient Advisory Board is currently taking applications for membership. Applications are due by April 30, 2011.

The Department of Community Mental Health is committed to partnering with families and recipients to advise us, participate in all aspects of program development, and create systems where they can participate in individual person-centered recovery planning.

Both family members and recipients are well represented in our current staffing and on our boards and committees. In addition to their input on these levels, we realize that many of  these individuals have benefited and may need support form other persons experiencing similar problems.

It is easy for parents to identify children’s physical needs such as good food, plenty of sleep, exercise, and safety. However, children’s emotional needs may not seem as obvious and are more difficult to detect.  

Good mental health allows your child to make friends, develop self-esteem, feel confident, competent and take on new challenges as he/she matures. The following are some tips that can help you support your child’s mental health. 

  • Communicate.  Spend time every day listening and talking to your child about what is happening in their lives.  Share emotions and feelings with your child.
  • Nurture children’s confidence and self-esteem.  Praise and encourage your children, and set realistic goals that test their abilities. Accept mistakes and failures as a part of life and help them develop resiliency to want to try again.
  • Encourage children to play. Playtime is important to children’s emotional development. Play helps children be creative, develop problem-solving skills and self-control, and learn how to get along with others.
  • Provide a safe and secure environment. Fear can be very real for a child.  When they are frightened try to find out why. Respond by listening and being patient and reassuring, not critical.

Knowing When to Get Help
When your child has an emotional problem sometimes all it takes is a a little reassurance to get him/her back on track. However, sometimes children can develop problems that will not go away and begin to effect day to day living. The following signs can help you determine if you need to get professional help. The first step would be to discuss these signs with your child's doctor, guidance counselor or school psychologist.

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Constant worry or anxiety
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or take part in social activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Continuous or frequent aggression
  • Continuous or frequent rebellion and/or temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability