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Support group to hold open house

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Health will host open house meetings Tuesday and on Jan. 25 to provide information on support and education available locally.

The 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. meetings, scheduled at Phoebe Northwest, will allow members of the public to ask questions and learn about the organization from local NAMI members. Immediately following the open house, support groups will meet at the same location.

"We're holding the open house meetings because we want people to be aware of NAMI and what resources (related to mental illness) are available," NAMI Albany President Alan White said.

Another reason for the open house meetings, White said, is to let the public know about the Family-to-Family Education Program being offered free of charge this spring. The 12-week progam is, according to White, a "godsend" for families who have experienced mental illness.

It is designed to help families, friends and caregivers of adults with serious mental illness learn about brain disorders and find support, resources and coping strategies.

"The course is wonderful; it covers the whole gamut," the local NAMI president said. "It's pretty much like a college course that tries to answer all the basic questions anyone might have. I know first-hand how valuable the course can be; I've been there. It was a godsend to me.

"The course is taught over 2 1/2-hour sessions for 12 weeks, and it covers various types of mental illness: the symptoms, case studies and how to cope with the illnesses within a family. It will provide answers for people who might encounter some symptoms of mental illness but they don't know where to turn."

Course leaders are trained members of NAMI Georgia who have a family members living with a serious mental illness. Classes will meet on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. starting Feb. 19.

For more information about the NAMI open house meetings or the Family-to-Family Education Program or to register for the course, contact Jere Brands at (641) 220-5610 or White at (229) 883-3191.

You may also contact the local NAMI leaders online at brandsfarm@gmail.com or whitesalb@prodigy.net.

The local NAMI affiliate holds monthly support group meetings at 6:30 p.m. for two separate groups -- family and friends of someone with an illness or adults maintaining recovery -- on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Phoebe Northwest.