Course helps families cope
A free, 12-week course for people whose adult family members live with mental illness is sponsored by the Multnomah Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Evening classes start Sept. 9 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital; Saturday morning classes begin Sept. 11 at Providence Portland Medical Center. Classes are offered at other locations in the metro area.
The course, described as “life-changing” by former participants, is designed for parents, spouses, children, siblings and friends of persons with mental illness. The nationally recognized curriculum is taught by specially trained volunteers whose own family members live with mental illness. Classes meet for two and a half hours each week for 12 weeks.
Classes cover the biology of brain disorders; dealing with crisis and relapse; diagnostic criteria for the major mental illnesses; medications and how they work; co-occurring mental illness and addiction disorders; problem solving; empathy with those who are ill; and communication and coping skills for family members.
“This class helps families to see that mental illness is a disorder of the brain, just as asthma and diabetes are disorders of other organs of the body. It helps families to separate their loved one from the illness that affects their loved ones,” said Margaret Brayden , executive director of the Portland chapter.
Registration is required. To register, call 503-203-3326.