NAMI ‘Family-to-Family’ class important

Family matters.

In fact, we could argue that nothing counts more than family. Blood, as they say, is thicker than water. And that is perfectly clear on Kauai, a place where great emphasis is placed on ohana. Moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and in-laws, they stick together on this island.

Which is why we support programs that aim to improve family dynamics.

Which brings us to the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ “Family-to-Family,” class, a free, 12-session educational program for families, significant others and friends of people with mental-health conditions. It is an evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of people closest to a person with a mental-health condition.

NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.

What you’ll gain

NAMI Family-to-Family not only provides information and strategies for taking care of people you love, but you’ll also find out that you’re not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope.

The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact — experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing your own experiences may help others in the class. In the program, participants will learn about:

• How to solve problems and communicate effectively;

• Taking care of yourself and managing your stress;

• Supporting your loved one with compassion;

• Finding and using local supports and services;

• Up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain;

• How to handle a crisis;

• Current treatments and therapies;

• The impact of mental-health conditions on the entire family.

While we generally avoid quoting people without naming them, here are a few folks who had good things to say about Family-to-Family:

“The course gave me hope that it will be OK, that I am not alone and reduced a lot of shame, guilt and hopelessness.”

“I wish I’d known about this seven years ago when the problem began. I felt safe in this class. I was able to talk about things I haven’t been comfortable expressing elsewhere.”

“Before I took the course, I felt alone and overwhelmed dealing with my daughter’s mental illness. By taking this course, I have met others who are going through the same things I am and have learned about many resources that I never knew existed.”

Sign up for the class

This class will be held in Lihue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 to 8:30 p.m., beginning on Jan. 7 and ending on Feb. 13.

Sign ups for the class close on Dec. 15, as books need to be ordered. The class size is limited to 14.

Contact Kathy Sheffield for more information or to register for the class: director@NAMIKauai.org, 635-3239.

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