ARCHBOLD — A free mental health education class for family members and friends of adults with a mental illness will be offered next month by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Four County. The class, called Family to Family, begins Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Four County ADAMhs Board office, T-761 Ohio 66, south of Archbold.
After the first class, the meeting date changes to Monday at the ADAMhs Board office. Family to Family meets for 2.5 hours for 12 consecutive weeks. However, participants are not required to attend every class.
Each week, the classes cover a different topic, including: learning about the symptoms and facts of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, and understanding each diagnosis, as well as the treatment of each illness.
Other topics covered include dealing with difficult periods that a person suffering from a mental illness goes through, including relapse; an up-to-date medication review; a problem-solving workshop; developing strategies on how to better communicate with the mentally ill loved one; making sure family members and friends take care of themselves; and more.
The class curriculum was professionally developed by NAMI and is now included on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The instructors, Roger and Sharon Weaver, are family members who have been trained by NAMI to teach the class.
Participants will receive a notebook full of information on each topic covered during the class.
NAMI Four County members have been offering the Family to Family class at no cost to community members for more than 13 years. Past participant evaluations have reported that the information presented is very helpful as the families strive to learn more about their loved one’s illness and how to help them. However, participants say that having the opportunity to hear and share similar experiences with other families is the most valuable part of the class.
A past class participant wrote: “Without a doubt, this course overall was the single most helpful and informative thing ever offered in all my years of searching for answers. It has helped me to understand better and communicate more effectively with my brother.”
Sharon Weaver, one of the instructors, said, “Knowing that you are not alone… that there are other families who struggle with mental illness and deal with the same issues is a relief and a source of support for many participants.”
Although the classes are free, registration is required. To register or get more detailed information about the Family to Family class, call Roger or Sharon Weaver at 419-335-1099 by Sept. 4 so enough binders and hand-outs can be prepared. However, late registrants will be accepted.
For more information about NAMI Four County, visit the website www.namifourcounty.org.