Mental illness group sets local training

CHAMPAIGN — Mental illness can be tough on loved ones, especially when there's a lot they don't know and understand about this disease.

The Champaign County chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness is bringing back a free, 13-week class that helps fill in many of the blanks, says local NAMI President Diane Zell.

"They will find that they have learned so much," she said. "Everything is provided free.

Openings remain for the course, set to run Feb. 21 through May 15. Classes will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Colony West clubhouse at 31 Colony West Drive, C.

Zell said the course, taught by two people with front-line experience with loved ones with mental illness, teaches how to cope with worry and stress and how to take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one.

It also includes information about the brain and brain disorders and medications, when and how to seek help, how to choose a good psychiatrist, how to manage a loved one in crisis, post-traumatic stress disorder and empathy exercises.

The class follows a national NAMI curriculum and has been taught in the local community for the last 10 years, Zell said.

Those signing up should be prepared to commit to the entire 13-week program "because it builds on itself," she said.

For more information or to sign up for the class, call 253-2413.

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