Big Island volunteers will sponsor a NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program specifically for families of persons diagnosed with serious mental illness. The six-week series of classes will start in Hilo on Saturday in the St. Joseph’s Church meeting room at 43 Kapiolani St. in Hilo. Sessions will run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The course will cover information about schizophrenia, the mood disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression,) panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder; coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse; basic information about medications; listening and communication techniques; problem-solving skills; recovery and rehabilitation; and self-care around worry and stress.
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The curriculum has been written by an experienced family member mental health professional and the course will be taught by NAMI-Hawaii-Big Island family member volunteers who have taken intensive training as course instructors.
The co-teachers for the Hilo area will be Carolyn Oki, Carol Denis, Lisa Akana, Belinda Soram and Kathy Hammes.
“This course is a wonderful experience,” Oki said. “It balances basic psychoeducation and skill-training with emotional support, self-care and empowerment. We hope families with relatives who have a serious mental illness will take advantage of this unique opportunity.”
This course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult daughters and sons, partners, and significant others who are caregivers of persons with severe and persistent mental illness. The course is not appropriate for individuals who themselves have a major mental illness, explained Oki.
NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all those in need. NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs. The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course is free. For more information, or to register, call Oki at 935-3518 or Denis at 935-0615.