The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country, offers "education, support and advocacy for persons with mental illnesses, their families and the wider community," according to its mission statement.

One in four Americans has some form of mental illness, according to NAMI.

NAMI Maryland, headquartered in Columbia, is the statewide group and operates affiliates throughout the state, including NAMI Howard County.

Among the programs and services offered are:

• Family-to-Family, a free, 12-week course for relatives of people with severe mental illness.

• Family support groups for relatives, caregivers and others involved with people with mental illness.

• Peer-to-Peer, a free course of 10 two-hour classes for people with serious mental illnesses who want to establish and maintain their recovery.

• NAMI Connection, a support group run by persons with mental illness for others with mental illness.

• Hearts & Minds, an online, interactive educational initiative on promoting wellness in both mind and body.

For more information on these and other resources, go to namimd.org.

—Pete Pichaske