LONDONDERRY - NAMI Vermont will sponsor the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program specifically for family members, partners and significant others of individuals with major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The series of classes will start on Sept. 24, meeting once per week for 12 weeks from 6:30 - 9 p.m. in Londonderry.

The course will cover information about the major mental illnesses, coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse, basic information about medications, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving skills, recovery and rehabilitation and self-care around worry and stress. The course is a unique evidence-based curriculum that has been written by an experienced family member/mental health professional and will be taught by NAMI Vermont family member volunteers who have taken intensive training as course instructors.

"[This course] balances basic psychoeducation and skill-training with emotional support, self-care and empowerment. We hope families with relatives who have mental health challenges will take advantage of this unique opportunity," says Program Director, Laurie Emerson. The course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, adult children and significant others of people with severe and persistent mental illness. The course is not appropriate for individuals who themselves suffer from one of the major mental illnesses.

The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course is free and is made possible in part by a grant from the Department of Mental Health. For more information or to register, call Laurie Emerson, Program Director at 800-639-6480 x102, or email program@namivt.org.

NAMI Vermont is the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.