NAMI Basics is a free six-session course for parents/family caregivers of children and teens with emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges.  The Sussex and Morris County affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Family Partners of Morris and Sussex are jointly sponsoring the course this fall on Tuesday evenings, October 2 – November 6, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at St. Francis Residential Community and Conference Center in Denville.  Advance registration by phone is required.  To make inquiries or to register for the course, call 973-214-0632 or 201-532-2267.  Class size is limited to 15.  Interested parents/family caregivers are urged to register as soon as possible. 

The course will be taught by two parents with the lived experience of raising a child with mental health challenges. The comprehensive curriculum covers Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Childhood Schizophrenia.  Parents of children on the autism spectrum may also find the course helpful.

Course participants will gain empathy and insight into the emotional experience of the child living with mental health, emotional, or behavioral challenges.  As caregivers, they will learn effective listening, communication and problem-solving skills.  Acknowledgment of the stresses and strains on the family, including siblings, is an important component of the course. 

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Current research related to the biology of mental health conditions is covered in the course, along with how to get an accurate diagnosis for a child.   Treatment options are discussed, including how medications work and their pros and cons in the treatment of children.  Families will learn how to find supports and services within the school system and community.

A theme of the NAMI Basics course is that "No one should have to face this journey alone!" 

To learn more about NAMI Sussex, visit www.nami-sussex-nj.org.  For NAMI Morris, visit www.naminj.org/support/affiliates/morris.  For more information about Family Partners of Morris and Sussex, visit www.familypartnersms.org .