Maranatha to host free course for families
Maranatha Church will host a nationally recognized class for families whose loved ones live with mental health issues, starting Saturday, Sept 8, according to the Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel, pastor of Maranatha and president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance.
The free, 12-week course for people whose adult family members live with mental illness is conducted by volunteers of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
While more than 700 people have taken the course in Multnomah County over the last five years, this is the first time it has been offered in a predominantly African-American church.
“That’s appropriate,” says Rev Bethel, since one in four families is affected by mental health issues.
“There is still so much stigma around these issues,” he said. “We can’t deny that this is an issue for families and we must use all our tools to deal with it.”
Saturday morning classes begin Sept. 8 at Maranatha; Thursday evening classes begin Thursday, Sept. 6 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Exact times and locations will be provided upon registration. Registration is required. To register, call 503-206-6155.
The course is for parents, spouses, children, siblings and friends of adults with mental illness. Designed by a NAMI mental-health professional, the instruction is taught by specially trained volunteers whose own family members live with mental illness.
In evaluations, 98 percent of those attending say they feel more confident dealing with their loved one as a result of taking the class. Many participants have described the class as “life-changing.”
Classes cover communication skills and problem-solving skills for family members; how to deal with a crisis; the biology of brain disorders; co-occurring addiction disorders and mental illness; the criteria doctors use to diagnose the major mental illnesses; as well as psychiatric medications and other issues.