FAMILY TO FAMILY
What people say about
“Family members who take the NAMI Family-to-Family course are better equipped to work with mental health clinicians in a collaborative manner. My bottom-line re commendation? Take this course. It will help you learn to cope successfully with a major challenge in your life, and that, in turn, will help your loved one as he or she works toward recovery.”
Peter Weiden, MD; Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications
The NAMI Family to Family Education program is a 12 week course for family caregivers of individuals with severe brain disorders (mental illnesses). The course is taught by trained family member volunteers. This class and all materials are provided for free.
The curriculum focuses on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), including the symptoms and common issues. Clinical treatment of these illnesses is discussed and participants are given the knowledge and skills needed for family members to cope more effectively.
What does the course include?
- Current information about schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and co-occurring brain disorders and addictive disorders.
- Up-to-date information about medications, side effects, and strategies for medication adherence.
- Current research related to the biology of brain disorders and the evidence-based, most effective treatments to promote recovery.
- Gaining empathy by understanding the subjective, lived experience of a person with mental illness.
- Learning in special workshops for problem solving, listening, and communication techniques.
- Acquiring strategies for handling crises and relapse.
- Focusing on care for the caregiver: coping with worry, stress, and emotional overload.
- Guidance on locating appropriate supports and services within the community.
NAMI-Billings usually offers this class twice a year, fall and winter. Please call the office at 406 256-2001 for information or to be on the waiting list for the next class.
IN OUR OWN VOICE: Living with Mental Illness
In Our Own Voice is a NAMI presentation by person’s with mental illness that creates awareness about what is involved in recovery from mental illness. This presentation is a powerful anti-stigma tool to change hearts, minds and attitudes about mental illness. It also provides an opportunity for persons with mental illness to gain self-esteem while serving as role models for the community. It is living proof that recovery from mental illness is an on-going reality.
What a presentation includes:
- Hear from people who have struggled with disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other severe mental illnesses.
- A brief video features consumers (people with mental illness), speaking about the topics of Dark Days, Acceptance, Treatment, Coping Skills, and Successes, Hopes, and Dreams.
- Insight into how people with serious mental illnesses cope with the realities of their disorders while reclaiming productive lives.
- Ask questions from the real experts -- the presenters are the ones who "have been there."
- A Take Home Folder is distributed to all attendees, which includes resources and an opportunity for program evaluation.
The presentation is for:
- Persons with a mental illness…in day programs, inpatient settings, support groups, and other community settings who can share, learn, and find hope for successful living.
- Family and friends…who may need further reassurance of the possibility of recovery for their loved ones.
- Health care providers…who desire strengthened communication with their clients and improved outcomes.
- Law enforcement officials…to increase awareness of and sensitivity to behaviors triggered by mental illness. Faith communities…to increase responsiveness to people with mental illnesses who may first turn to their spiritual community for guidance.
- Students…of various age levels, who wish to expand their knowledge of living with mental illness. Any community or civic organization…who may be interested in learning more about mental illnesses and recovery.
Why is this presentation important?
- Raises awareness in communities about recovery from mental illness.
- Empowers consumers by providing a path to recovery.
- Presents the real face of mental illness.
- Combats stigma by opening dialogue.
- Provides supported employment opportunities for consumers.
- Increases visibility of NAMI as a resource.
NAMI Connection is a weekly recovery support group for people with mental illness. Members learn from each other's experiences, share coping strategies and offer one another encouragement, understanding and hope.
The groups offer a casual and relaxed approach to sharing the challenges and successes of coping with mental illness. Each group:
- meets weekly for 90 minutes
- is offered at no charge
- follows a flexible structure without an educational format
- does not recommend or endorse any medications or other medical therapies
NAMI Basics is an education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses. The course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years.
Goals of NAMI Basics
- To give the parent/caregiver the fundamental information necessary to be an effective caregiver
- To help the parent/caregiver cope with traumatic impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family
- To provide tools for the parent/caregiver to use even after completing the program that will assist in making the best decisions possible for the care of the child
- To help the parent/caregiver take the best care possible of the entire family-especially themselves
PEER TO PEER
Peer-to-Peer is a unique, experiential learning program for people with any serious mental illness who are interested in establishing and maintaining their wellness and recovery. The course was written by a woman with a psychiatric disability who has had a successful career as a mental health provider and manger and a longtime mutual support group member and facilitator.
- Peer-to-Peer consists of nine two-hour units and is taught by a team of three trained "mentors" who are personally experienced at living well with mental illness.
- Mentors are trained in weekend-long training sessions, supplied with teaching manuals, and are paid a stipend for each course they teach.
- Participants come away from the course with a binder of printed materials, as well as many other tangible resources: an advance directive; a "relapse prevention plan" to help identify tell-tale feelings, thoughts, behaviors or events that may warn of impending relapse and to organize for intervention; mindfulness exercises to help focus and calm thinking; and survival skills for working with providers and the general public.
NAMI-Billings offers this class at least once a year. Please call the office at 406 256-2001 for information or to be on the waiting list for the next class.
Presenter Training: Presenters are consumers (persons with mental illness) who are ready for the next step in their recovery and are willing to share their story. They are selected through application to NAMI-Billings.
A trainer from the NAMI national office provides a two-day course for 12-16 consumer presenters. During the training, presenters will practice telling their personal stories, develop facilitation skills, develop story points that will be relevant and meaningful to specific audiences, and develop a professional presentation that they could take to their communities.
For more information call the NAMI-Billings office at 256-2001.