Open Door Groups

Contact Us

NAMI Minnesota
1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400
Saint Paul, MN 55104

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
fax: 651-645-7379


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Open Door Anxiety and Panic Support Groups

A Program of NAMI Minnesota

What Does the Open Door Offer?
- Support groups - An anxiety management program - A life-style awareness program
- A new look at self-talk - Updated information on articles & books on anxiety

Open Door Support Groups
The groups provide ongoing support for individuals with an anxiety or panic disorder. They follow a standard format that includes emotional support and coping strategies for anxiety management and lifestyle awareness. All meetings are facilitated by people who have had an anxiety disorder and are now recovered or recovering. There is no cost to attend, but freewill donations are accepted.

Brooklyn Park - (This group is not currently meeting, it may resume in the fall) Meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 1:00-2:30 p.m., North Hennepin Community College, 7411 85th Ave N., Educational Services Building on the Broadway side of campus, in room ES 36. Contact Sue at 763-424-0845. (See map

East St. Paul - (Starting June 1, the group will be on break through Aug. 31. It will then resume on Sept 6.) Meets 1st & 3rd Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m., 1740 Van Dyke Street, in East St. Paul. Enter the Eating Hall on the south side of the building via the glass doors. All are welcome to come a half hour early (6:00-6:25 p.m.) for dinner (brats, hamburgers, chips) for a $3 donation. Open Door will meet from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Follow the NAMI signs to get to the correct meeting room. Facilitator: Rachel: 952-818-7343.

Edina - Meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, from 1:00-2:30, Edina Library Conference Room, 5280 Grandview Square.  For information, call Mark at 651-485-1882.

Edina - Meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., Cross View Lutheran, 6645 McCauley Trail West, call Shawn at 651-239-8381

St. Paul Highland Park - Meets 2nd & 4th Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Avenue S., in Room 108. Call Les at 612-229-1863.

Minneapolis - (No meeting on Memorial Day) Meets 2nd & 4th Mondays, 6:30 p.m at St. Mark's Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis, in the Library. Call Scott at 612-998-6160.

(Disclaimer: Attending an Open Door Anxiety and Panic support group meeting affirms that you will take full responsibility for your own interpretation of information and that NAMI Minnesota is free from any liabilities.)

If you are interested in starting an Open Door support group, please contact Morgan Caldwell, Peer Programming Assistant at 651-645-2948 x121 or

How do the Open Door Anxiety and Panic Support Groups Work?
The Open Door program is based on the book "Embracing the Fear, Learning to Manage Anxiety and Panic Attacks" by Judith Bemis and Amr Barrada. It is a program that offers you more than rational thinking, distraction, and thought stopping as ways to deal with your anxiety.

Judith Bemis writes about the program: "The coping strategies in our program will most likely come as a surprise because they are built on paradox rather than logic. For example, at first you will find it difficult to believe that you can alleviate your symptoms by allowing them rather than trying to control them. You might wonder how giving yourself permission to leave an uncomfortable situation can make it easier for you to stay. Or how lowering your expectations can help you to approach feared situations with less anxiety. But it is through this maze of paradoxes that many of us are finding recovery.

"Different strategies work for different people, and it's good to know that we have options. If the program you've tried hasn't worked for you, don't give up. Keep looking until you find one that does. Recovery is out there regardless of how you find it, or how long it takes."

You Are Not Alone
Anxiety problems can range from mild anxiety and simple phobias to panic attacks and agoraphobia. It is estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that nineteen million American adults, ages 18 to 54, and thirteen million young people, ages 9 to 17, have some kind of anxiety that curtails their daily activities. Anxiety is America's number one mental health problem costing more than forty-two billion dollars a year in doctor bills and workplace losses.

People who attend Open Door meetings are dealing with any of the following *anxiety disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder - People with GAD experience excessive anxiety and worry about real-life circumstances that persist for at least six months. They find it difficult to control the worry. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress and affect social, occupational and other areas of functioning.

Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia - Those who suffer from this disorder have a fear of going places where one might experience a panic attack and escape is difficult or embarrassing. This could include being in crowds, public places, elevators, crossing bridges, traveling by air, train, bus, etc. People with this disorder exhibit avoidance behavior.

Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia - With this disorder, recurrent and unexpected panic attacks cause constant concern.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - OCD is characterized by obsessions. These obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts or impulses that cause anxiety or stress. Compulsions, which are time-consuming, serve to neutralize the anxiety. People with this disorder usually recognize that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - People with PTSD re-experience a traumatic event. The initial response must involve intense fear and helplessness. There is persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma.

*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed. (DSM-IV TR) American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC

Information & Resources

NAMI Open Door Brochure 1-2013

Anxiety Disorders - NAMI

Anxiety Disorders Book List

Anxiety Disorders Websites

Book Review
Read Judith Bemis' review of Lee Wellman's book, “My Quarter-Life Crisis: How an Anxiety Disorder Knocked Me Down, and How I Got Back Up" here.