NAMI New Jersey to offer 12-week course starting March 25 in Sparts

“Family-to-Family,” a free, 12-week course provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will be offered in Sparta beginning Wednesday, March 25.

This nationally renowned, evidence-based course helps family members cope with the stressful issues of caring for a loved one who has a serious mental illness. The course is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

The illnesses covered in the course include major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The “Family-to-Family” course explains the biological brain chemistry involved in mental illness, the array of medications used in treatment, and how to differentiate between mild and serious medication side effects. In addition, the course provides family members with strategies for problem solving, limit setting, and communicating in a non-confrontational manner.

Family members will come to understand the stages of emotional reaction they themselves are likely to experience as caregivers. They will learn that they are not to blame for their loved one’s illness. Perhaps most importantly, they will learn that they are not alone. It is estimated that one in five families have a loved one with serious mental illness.

The comprehensive twelve-session course will be held at the Walter Lynch Senior Center, 40 Trapasso Drive, Knoll Heights Village in Sparta on Wednesday evenings, 7-9:30 p.m., from March 25 through June 10.

The course will be taught by two trained volunteers who have loved ones with mental illness in their own families. Anyone interested should call Christie at 973-632-7452 or email nami.sussex@yahoo.com as soon as possible. The course is limited to twenty participants, and pre-registration is required.