Series to focus on mental disorders

LIHUE — Kauai volunteers will sponsor a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program specifically for families of persons diagnosed with serious mental illness. The free series of classes will start in Lihue on Jan. 7. The class will meet on Monday and Thursday evenings. Each class will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and the series will end Feb. 14.

The course will cover information about schizophrenia, the mood disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. The class will cover topics including coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse, basic information about medications, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving skills, recovery and rehabilitation, and finally, self-care around worry and stress.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The curriculum has been written by an experience family member mental health professional, and the course will be taught by NAMI Kauai family member volunteers who have taken intensive training as course instructors.

“This course is a wonderful experience,” said Kathy Sheffield, executive director for NAMI Kauai. “It balances basic psycho-education and skill-training with emotional support, self-care and empowerment. We hope families with relatives who have a serious mental illness will take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

This course is designed specifically for parents, siblings over 18, spouses, teenage and adult daughters and sons, partners, and significant others who are caregivers of persons with severe and persistent mental illness.

The course is not appropriate for individuals who themselves have a major mental illness, explained Sheffield.

For more information, or to register, call Sheffield at 635-3239. You may also register by email by providing your first and last name, email and phone number at NAMI.Kauai@yahoo.com.

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