Free course offers hope


To the Editor:

Mental illness affects not only the person who is ill, but his or her family and loved ones as well. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) of Massachusetts is sponsoring a free family-to‐family educational course designed to help participants understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. The course is taught by trained volunteer teachers who are also family members, and know what it is like to have a loved one living with mental illness.

Thousands of families describe the program as life-changing. One recent program participant shares: “The course has helped me to realize that my son is still inside the body that is oftentimes hidden by the mental illness, and that I am not alone in this.”

We are pleased to again help increase awareness of this valuable program. The 12 weekly classes, offered free of charge, will take place Monday evenings from 6 to 8:30 pm, beginning Monday, March 5, in Vineyard Haven. The exact location will be provided to participants upon enrollment. Students must pre-enroll, and have the option to enroll any time before the third class on March 19.

Peter Weiden, M.D., author of “Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications,” says, “My bottom‐line recommendation? Take this course. It will help you learn to cope successfully with a major challenge in your life, and that, in turn, will help your loved one as he or she works toward recovery.”

The course is open to close relatives and significant others of persons with a serious mental illness. However, it is not open to individuals who themselves suffer from a serious mental illness, unless their condition is stable and they wish to attend as caregivers for close relatives who have a mental illness.

The class size is normally limited to 30 people, and advance registration is required. Please call Megan Grennan at 508-939-0681 for more information or to register.

We are so fortunate to have this program on the Island. Please take advantage of the support it offers.

Juliette Fay, executive director
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services