Alliance expands mental illness programming

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is making life a little easier for those interested in its programming by adding Saturday classes in Greenwich to its schedule, beginning Feb. 1.

“I am glad we were able to schedule classes on Saturdays this year,” said Claudia DeVita, an instructor for Family-to-Family, an educational program for loved ones coping with mental illness. “It will be more convenient for people who work or drive a distance than our evening classes were last year.”

Offered by the Stamford-Greenwich affiliate of NAMI, the free classes offered cover depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and other common psychiatric disorders. They show how these illnesses affect a person’s brain and behavior and how medications help. Workshops in empathy and communication help families understand their loved one’s illness and show how to provide support. A care-for-the-caregiver workshop helps families cope with their own stress. Confidentiality is respected and the trained volunteer instructors are themselves family members.

Peter Case, past president of the affiliate, urged the community to register soon, noting that the classes fill up quickly. Those interested may contact him at 203-322-3383 or [email protected]

Classes will begin on Saturday, Feb. 1, and will run from 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. every Saturday morning for 11 weeks through April 12. They will meet in the Cafeteria Conference Room at Greenwich Hospital.

A similar program, NAMI Basics, for caregivers of children under 18 with mental illness, will begin on April 7 in Stamford. Details are available at Namisg.info.

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