Families, close friends and caretakers of people who develop serious mental illnesses are often in shock when they realize their loved one has mental illness. They may be stigmatized by those around them who know nothing about mental illness, and may feel alone, while the medical community gives them no information to help them care for their ill person.
These are scenarios that the National Alliance on Mental Illness, America’s largest grassroots mental health organization, saw when it was formed. From this need the Family to Family NAMI Signature Program developed, and volunteer teachers all over the US were trained. To date over 300,000 people have taken the course, and Family to Family is now part of the prestigious National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.
NAMI Amador is one of the affiliates of NAMI with trained teachers that can offer the free six-week class to the community, supported through a contract with Amador County Behavioral Health Department with Mental Health Services Act funding. Class begins Saturday, October 4th from 9:00AM to 2:30PM at Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson.
The course, updated each year with the latest research, addresses schizophrenia, mood disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression), panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD and co-occurring disorders. It balances education and skill training with emotional support, self-care and empowerment. Participants learn coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse; basic information about medications; listening and communication techniques; problem-solving skills; recovery and rehabilitation; and self-care around worry and stress.
One graduate said, “I truly wish I had known this information when my [family member’s] illness began. It gives me the tools to deal with her in a more positive way. The information about medications and the mental illness process was invaluable.” People interested in taking the course, who are able to make the 6-week commitment, should call NAMI Amador at 223-1485, X266 and leave a message for instructors.