NAMI course helps families understand mental illness

PUBLIC HEALTH. 'Family-to-Family' education is now available at NAMI to help families manage crises and unsolved problems that involve mental illness.

10 Sep 2019 | 02:30

NAMI Course on Mental Illness Helps Families Cope

"Family-to-Family," a free, 12-session family education course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will be offered in Newton, on Tuesday evenings, beginning Sept. 17, 2019. The course is provided to support and educate family members and close friends of individuals with mental illness.

The course teaches participants how to manage crises and solve problems, to communicate effectively with their loved one, to be well-informed advocates, as well as how to manage their own stress. Crucial information about and how to find and utilize local mental health supports and services is provided.

Family-to-Family is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Over 350,000 family members have graduated from this course nationwide. Many have described the program as "life changing."

The course is taught by NAMI-trained volunteer family members who have experienced firsthand what it is like to have a loved one struggling with a mental health challenge. Participants gain critical information and strategies for taking care of their loved one, and they learn that there is hope for recovery.

Additionally, family caregivers learn that they are not alone. The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support, and participants experience compassion and reinforcement from people who truly understand. Confidentiality is always respected.

The illnesses covered in the course include major depression; bipolar disorder; schizophrenia; schizoaffective disorder; borderline personality disorder; anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); as well as co-occurring brain disorders and addictive behaviors. Current evidence-based treatments and therapies, including medications and side effects, are presented and discussed.

The comprehensive twelve-session course will be held Tuesday evenings Sept. 17 through Dec. 3, 2019, from 6:30-9 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 111 Ryerson Ave., Newton, NJ. Anyone interested in registering for the course can call Christie at 973-632-7452. The course is limited to twenty participants. Pre-registration by phone is required.