Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still holding your meetings?

Yes. Please do not call us about this.

Do I have to join the meetup?

No, but joining the meetup will let you know about activities other than support groups.

Is there an application process?

No. Just show up.

Are there other groups in the area?

Yes. We encourage you to visit them so you can find the best fit. You can find daytime groups at Wellness Center South and a group at Mission/Laguna Beach hospital. See this page for more information or call the Bipolar Resource Center at 714-744-8718.

Do you accept people with schizoaffective disorder?

Yes. We consider it to be a mood disorder.

What about other mental conditions?

We have members with generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and OCD who find our program helpful. Schizophrenics who live with depression or who have a dual diagnosis with bipolar disorder will find our groups helpful and supportive. If you have another disorder, you are welcome to come. NAMI-OC has excellent support and educational groups for both patients and families.

Can family members and friends come to your groups?

Absolutely! We consider the mental health of family members to be as important as the patients. Supporters may come with a patient or alone. We also have a family-only support group that meets once a month at the Belltower in Rancho Santa Margarita. Check our list of support groups for more information.

Can I attend your activities without attending support groups?

Yes. Some people don’t come for support groups, but they like to hang out with other people who live with mood disorders. Details are included in each meetup event.

How long are the meetings?

Up to two hours depending on the number of people and the urgency of their problems. Most meetings last about an hour

Who runs the meetings?

Meetings are run by trained peers. There are people present who have Red Cross CPR/First Aid and Mental Health First Aid certification.

Can I get my court card signed?

If you remain for the entire meeting, the facilitator or a chapter officer will sign your card.

Do you have a dual diagnosis meeting?

We are looking to establish a co-occuring disorders (COD) group as soon as we can find a facilitator and a place.

What is a COD?

Dual diagnosis is a limited term, referring to two disorder happening at the same time. COD is unlimited. It suggests the presence of at least one substance abuse and at least one mental disorder.

Do the meetings cost anything?

No, though we support ourselves through donations. First timers do not have to donate. The usual amount is one dollar.

¿Tienes una reunión en español?

No en este momento. Esperamos establecer uno en la zona de San Juan Capistrano tan pronto como podamos encontrar un facilitador capaz y una habitación.

If I don’t take medication, can I attend the meeting?

Yes. Most of our members take medication, but we recognize that there are many roads to recovery.

Is this a 12-Step Program?

No, but we offer similar comradery.

What can I do to help?

Attend support groups and give feedback. Help our nonpartisan advocacy program. Help set up and clean the meeting room. Invite new members.

Who are the Friends?

The Religious Society of Friends (better known as Quakers) are a religious denomination with a long tradition of support for self-management by the mentally ill.

Do I have to be a Quaker to attend the Friday night meeting?

No. There is no religious requirement. Meetings are secular/ecumenical.

Do I need to have a psychiatrist/psychologist?

Many people come to see if they hear others tell their story. We recommend, however, that you obtain a diagnosis from either a psychiatrist or a psychologist if you suspect you have a mood disorder.

What do I do if I am suicidal?

Check yourself into an emergency room. There are no mental health professionals at our meeting.

I am a mental health professional. May I attend your meetings?

Only as a peer.

Who do I call for more information?

Joel (patients) 9 4 9 6 8 3 9 2 1 1 and Lynn (family and friends) 9 4 9 6 8 3 5 7 4 9.