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Have A Family Member Or Friend With Mental Illness? There's A Class For That!


If you have a family member or loved one who suffers from mental illness, there’s a course starting next week that organizers hope will change your life for the better. "This is the way you find out how to take care of yourself. Because if you don't take care of yourself, you're not going to be able to take care of the family (member) or loved one with the illness" said Bill Crawford, the Vice President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, group in Pensacola. He’s talking about NAMI’s Family to Family course for the family and friends of people living with mental illness.

The free course begins this coming Monday, August 31, and runs each Monday for 12 weeks. Crawford says "you really should make a commitment to those 12 weeks. You're going to learn about mental illness, you're going to learn about treatment". He also says you'll learn about the different ways different mental conditions manifest themselves.

The course was designed nationally by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is taught by local people who can help guide people through the various local agencies and programs in the Pensacola area for people with mental illness and their families. Bill Crawford also says he's been through this himself with his oldest daughter. "I speak from experience in terms of not knowing where to turn."

The course will also show family members how to find and use local support services, update them on the latest information on mental health conditions and treatments and show proven methods to manage a crisis situation with the patient. It also gives people a chance to interact with people who are dealing with the same issues.

Again, the NAMI Family to Family 12 week course begins this coming Monday from 6:30 until 9pm at the Pavilion at West Florida Hospital in Pensacola. The course is free and is open to everyone who is dealing with the mental illness of a family or friend. To register call 208-1609 or e-mail namipensacola at g mail dot com. ( namipensacola@gmail.com )