Time to Talk about mental health: Groups help families, as well

Published 6:03 pm Monday, September 19, 2022

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By Julie Whittaker

For the Enterprise

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, offers supports to persons and families coping with mental illness within local communities via trained volunteers. Residents of Davie have access to these supports through NAMI NW Piedmont, NC. Families learning to cope with an ill family member may benefit from attending these free programs.

NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences.

NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get what they need.

• Free to participants

• Designed for adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions

• Led by family members of people with mental health conditions

• 60-90 minutes long and meets weekly, every other week or monthly (varies by location)

• No specific medical therapy or treatment is endorsed

• Confidential

By sharing your experiences in a safe setting, you can gain hope and develop supportive relationships. This group allows your voice to be heard and provides an opportunity for your personal needs to be met. It encourages empathy, productive discussion, and a sense of community. You’ll benefit from other’s experiences, discover your inner strength, and empower yourself by sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental space.

NAMI Family Support Group will help you:

• Aim for better coping skills

• Find strength in sharing experiences

• Not judge anyone’s pain

• Forgive ourselves and reject guilt

• Embrace humor as healthy

• Accept that we cannot solve every problem

• Understand that mental health conditions are no one’s fault and can be traumatic experiences”

For a more comprehensive education on coping with mentally ill family members, NAMI offers the NAMI Family to Family Course.

NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 8-session educational program for family, significant others, and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition.

NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions, and interactive exercises.

NAMI Family-to-Family not only provides information and strategies for taking care of the person you love, but you’ll also find out that you’re not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope.

The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact—experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing your own experience may help others in your class. In the program, you’ll learn about:

• How to solve problems and communicate effectively

• Taking care of yourself and managing your stress

• Supporting your loved one with compassion

• Finding and using local supports and services

• Up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain

• How to handle a crisis

• Current treatments and therapies

• The impact of mental health conditions on the entire family”

NAMI NW Piedmont offers Family Support Group meetings via Zoom, on the 1st and 3rd Mondays 7-8:30 pm, (in person Monday meetings may become available soon) and the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays 6-7:30 pm of each month. In addition, the Family-to-Family Course is offered at least annually, and if we have facilitators available twice a year. Email admin@naminwpiedmontnc.org to request meeting notifications. You can visit NAMI NW Piedmont, NC or follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NAMI.NWP.NC to stay abreast of opportunities.