"Family-to-Family," a free, 8-session family education course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will be offered in Vernon, NJ on Wednesday evenings, beginning March 18. The course provides support, education, and resources to family members and close friends of individuals with mental illness.

Course participants will learn how to manage crises and solve problems, to communicate effectively with their loved one, to be well-informed advocates, as well as how to manage their own stress. Crucial information about and how to access local mental health services and treatment programs is provided.

Family-to-Family is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.  Over 350,000 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 NAMI-trained volunteer family members who have experienced firsthand what it is like to have a loved one struggling with a serious 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, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); as well as co-occurring substance use disorders.  Current evidence-based treatments and therapies, including medications and side effects, are presented and discussed. 

The comprehensive eight-session course will be held Wednesday evenings March 18 through May 6, 2020, from 6:30-9:00 p.m., at St. Francis de Sales Church, 614 County Highway 517, Vernon, NJ. Anyone interested in registering for the course should call Jeri at 973-214-0632 as soon as possible.  The course is limited to twenty participants.  Pre-registration by phone is required.