"Family-to-Family," a free, 12-session family education course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will be offered in Sparta, NJ on Wednesday evenings, beginning September 12. The course is provided to support and educate family members and other caregivers 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 a well-informed advocate, 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 also provided.

Family-to-Family is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.  Over 300,000 family members have graduated from this course nationwide.  Many have described the program as "life changing."

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The course is taught by volunteer NAMI-trained 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 Wednesday evenings September 12 through December 5 from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 85 Conestoga Trail, Sparta, NJ.  Anyone interested in registering for the course should call Michelle at 973-417-1783 as soon as possible.  The course is limited to twenty participants.  Pre-registration by phone is required.