"Family-to-Family," a free, 12-session family education course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will be offered in Newton on Thursday evenings, beginning September 14. The course is provided to support and educate families, partners, and friends of individuals with mental illness.
The course teaches participants how to manage crises and solve problems, to communicate without triggering angry reactions from their loved one, to effectively advocate for their family member, 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."
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.
Perhaps most importantly, 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); and 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 Thursday evenings September 14 through December 7 from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at Bridgeway, 93 Stickles Pond Rd., Newton, NJ. Anyone interested in registering for the course should call Nancy at 973-875-5998 or Jeri at 973-214-0632 as soon as possible. The course is limited to twenty participants. Pre-registration by phone is required.