This past weekend I spent over 20 hrs in training to become a facilitator for NAMI’s Family to Family classes. It was a grueling 20 hrs.

Yesterday when I got home, I was exhausted, my brain was fried. I made it though. I am now certified to teach the Family to Family classes. Now I will tell you about NAMI and the classes.

NAMI is National Alliance of Mental Illness. It is an organization that helps both consumers and families with mental illness issues. If you have a mental illness or have a loved one with a mental illness, consult your local NAMI group.

They usually meet once a month for both education and support. It is great. They will point you to resources where you can get help for you or your loved one.

The Family to Family classes are specifically for family members of those with mental illness. You learn what it is, what to look for, how to deal with the different issues, how to communicate with the loved one, etc. There are even lessons with medical information on meds and the brain. The classes are excellent.

They are all free, last 12 weeks, and can give you a local support group of new friends who know where you are coming from.

If you have a mental illness yourself and have a loved one with a mental illness, then you have to be in recovery yourself before taking the class. You have to be stable. You have to be there and concentrate on being the family member instead of the consumer.

I took the class last fall as my son also has a mental illness. I went as a parent instead of a consumer. You have to have a different mindset to do so.

I hope that you will check into the local NAMI group in your area. Go to and you can look up your local organization. On the site, there is also a great amount of information on mental illness and recovery from mental illness.

I will be sharing some things I learned on communication later this week.