Free program for those with psychiatric disorders, their caregivers

Following what has been called an “enthusiastic response” to its initial presentation in 2012, the Stamford/Greenwich affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will once again offer a free educational program for families, caregivers and friends of adults with depression, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses.

Through this 11-week course the Family-to-Family program helps families understand their loved one’s illness and helps them provide support for that individual while coping with the inevitable stress they feel themselves. Classes will be held in the Hayton Conference Room on the third floor of Town Hall beginning Monday, Feb. 18. The classes will be held from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m., and will continue each Monday evening through April 29.

The course covers most common psychiatric disorders and how they affect the brain to cause changes in behavior, and how medications work to relieve the symptoms. It also includes workshops in problem solving and feeling empathy for and communicating with the person with the illness. Additionally the class covers the recovery process, advocacy and care for the caregiver.

Each participant’s confidentiality is respected and the trained volunteer instructors are themselves family members. Early registration is suggested because class size is limited. Those interested should call Claudia at 203-869-1018, Peter at 203-322-3383 or e-mail [email protected] for information and to register.

A similar program, NAMI Basics, for parents of children with mental illness, is likely to take place in March in Stamford. Further details about that will be announced on the NAMI Stamford/Greenwich Web site,

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots, nonprofit organization for mental health. Its mission is to improve quality of life for individuals with psychiatric disorders and their families through support and educational programs, advocacy, and reducing stigma. More information is available at

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