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Family-to-Family Education Course begins on April 6

Big Island volunteers will sponsor the 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 April 6 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the meeting room at St. Joseph’s Church, 43 Kapiolani St., Hilo.

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.

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 teachers for the Hilo area will be Carolyn Oki, Carol Denis, Belinda Soram and Kathy Hammes.

“This course is a wonderful experience,” said Oki. “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.”

The course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult children and significant others of persons with severe and persistent mental illness. The course is not appropriate for individuals who themselves suffer from one of the major mental illnesses.

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. 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 of 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, please call Carolyn Oki (935-3518) or Carol Denis (935-0615).


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