LIHU‘E — Families with members diagnosed with serious mental illnesses have a chance to attend an upcoming National Alliance on Mental Illness association session that will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. starting April 2.
Sponsored by Kauai NAMI volunteers, the Family-to-Family education program will cover information about schizophrenia, the mood disorders (bi-polar 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 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 experienced family member who is also a mental-health professional. The course will be taught by NAMI Kaua‘i family member volunteers who have taken intensive training as course instructors.
All NAMI instructors have been re-certified in this new offering of a condensed course that previously spanned 12 weeks.
NAMI advocates for access to services and treatment, and provides support, promotes research, and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all those in need. This course is designed specifically for parents, siblings over 14, 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 Kathy Sheffield, executive director of NAMI Kaua‘i.
“This course is a wonderful experience. It balances basic psycho-education and skills 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,” Sheffield said.
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, she said.
The group setting of Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact. Experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing you own experience may help others in the class. In the program, participants will learn about:
• Taking care of yourself and managing your stress;
• Solving problems and communicating effectively;
• 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.
The NAMI Family-to-Family education course if free. To register for the class or to get more information, call NAMI Kaua‘i at 635-3239.
Registration closes Friday, March 20.