NAMI Southwest CT offers free mental health course for families

People concerned about someone close to them who is suffering from a serious mental illness can get help from a free course offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness beginning Saturday, Jan. 14, at Greenwich Hospital. The course will meet for 12 weeks on Saturday mornings from 9:15-11:45, in the Hyde Conference Room, Third Floor, Greenwich Hospital, 5 Perryridge Road, Greenwich. Registration is required. To register, contact Peter Case at 203-322-3383 or [email protected]

The course is open to any family member, caregiver, partner, significant other or friend of the person with the illness. The ill person must be at least 17 years of age. It is called “Family-to-Family” because the instructors, who have been trained by NAMI, are themselves family members of someone with a mental illness.

Peter Case said that people come to the course feeling frustrated and guilty because they don’t know how to help the individual with the illness. “We tell them, ‘You can’t know what nobody ever told you,’” he said. “It’s our job to provide information that can help them manage the situation they find themselves in.”

The course includes workshops on feeling empathy for and communicating with the loved one, on problem solving, and on self-care for the caregiver. It covers the brain; medications and their side effects; and mood disorders, schizophrenia and other common mental disorders.

A similar course, NAMI Basics, for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents under 17 with a mental illness, will be offered beginning March 1, 2017, in New Canaan. Those interested should call Janet at 203-517-9185.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots, nonprofit organization aimed at improving quality of life for people living with a mental illness and their families. Its local website is

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