NAMI offering family program
NAMI of the Pee Dee, the Florence area organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer its Family-to-Family Education Program beginning Feb. 7 and continuing thru May 1. It will be held on Sunday afternoons from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church. NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session education program for family, partners, friends and significant others of adults living with mental illness.
The course is designed to help all family members understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. Included is information on illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and other mental health conditions.
Thousands of families describe the program as life-changing. “This course overall was, without a doubt, the single most helpful and informative thing ever offered in all my years searching for answers… It has helped me to understand better and communicate more effectively with my brother.” “The course has helped me to realize that my son is still inside the body that is often times hidden by the mental illness, and that I am not alone in this.”
Family-to-Family was designed and written by mental health professionals who have direct experience caring for a relative with mental illness. The program is taught by trained teachers who are also family members and know what it is like to have a loved one living with mental illness. The course balances education and skill-training with self-care, emotional support and empowerment.
It provides information about schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and co-occurring brain disorders and addictive disorders. Basic information about medications commonly used to treat these illnesses and the side effects of these medications is presented.
Skills covered include coping, handling crisis and relapse, listening and communication techniques, problem solving and limit setting. The course employs role-playing workshops to help participants learn some of these skills. Family-to-Family also covers how to provide emotional support as well as how to recognize and deal with the normal emotional reactions families have to the chronic worry and stress they face.