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National Alliance on Mental Illness
updated: Aug 09, 2014, 10:00 AM

About NAMI:

Mental illness affects everyone. Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year. Regardless of race, age, religion or economic status, mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children across the United States.

People living with mental illness need help and hope: they need a community that supports them, their families and their recovery.

Because mental illness devastates the lives of so many Americans, NAMI works every day to save every life.

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.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Southern Santa Barbara County:

The local NAMI of Southern Santa Barbara County will offer, beginning September 3, a free 12-week program to help caregivers understand and support their loved ones with serious mental health challenges while maintaining their own well-being.

Called Family-to-Family, the course is taught by trained family members who have experienced the challenge of helping their ill relatives gain treatment and move toward recovery. Class members will be taught coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving, recovery and rehabilitation, plus self-care in the midst of worry and stress. Members will receive information about medications and treatment options and local mental health resources.

Over 300,000 family members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Italy have completed this course. Nearly 600 local family members have taken the course, offered for several years by the local NAMI chapter, describing it as "life-changing."

NAMI of Southern Santa Barbara County is affiliated with the national and state NAMIs, and with the local Mental Wellness Center at 617 Garden Street, where classes are held. NAMI also offers monthly educational meetings with speakers discussing various significant mental health topics. Together with the Mental Wellness Center, other free family services are offered, including three weekly support groups, (two in Spanish), and free counseling and referral.

To learn more about Family-to-Family or other family services, contact Carol Hawkes, family advocate at 805 884-8440 x 3206. Contact family advocate Joe Gonzales to inquire about his support groups in Spanish, 805 884-8440 x 3186.

The Family-to-Family course is limited to 24 members who must register in advance. Interested families should inquire immediately, as the Fall course is filling up fast. The free course is offered three times a year, starting in January, April and September.

"This course overall was the single most, without a doubt, 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."

Learn more at nami.org


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