NAMI Midland provides information and comfort to families facing mental health challenges

The word “community” is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular interest in common. Catalyst Midland has launched a series titled “Catalyst Community” focusing on different communities — sometimes geographic, sometimes a common interest. 

In this week’s Catalyst, we focus on mental health and a program offered by NAMI Midland to help families help their loved ones struggling with mental illness. 
Dan Corbat
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dan Corbat is the coordinator of NAMI Midland’s Family to Family program. Ron Beacom is the president of NAMI Midland, an affiliate of the national organization. They are two of the many volunteers who facilitate Family to Family and NAMI Midland’s monthly support groups. All programs are free.
 Ron Beacom
NAMI reports that one in five adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care.
 
NAMI Family to Family

Loved ones and caregivers of persons with mental illness face many unique challenges. It’s difficult to watch a loved one not be able to hold a job, drop out of school, not be able to take care of themselves, and withdraw from family and friends. The purpose of this article is to make our community aware of a free program being offered this spring for family members and friends of adults who live with mental illness. 

NAMI Family to Family gives you information, crucial resources and access to a community of people who can relate to your experiences. You will learn from people who, like you, get it, and who have been there. It’s open to adults 18 and older who are family members and friends of people who live with mental illness.  Examples include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression. This free class will meet for (8) weeks on Tuesday evenings from 6:15-8:45pm from April 5 through May 24.  

Approximately 1 in 5 adult Americans live with a mental illness, with conditions ranging from commonly occurring depression and anxiety to schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder, among many others.
During the last session of the Fall 2021 workshop in Midland, participants were asked to complete a written evaluation about the program.  These are some of the comments we received:

“I’ve learned to look at situations from my loved-one’s perspective, not just my own. This has helped me how to cope differently”

“I have finally accepted that my son's mental illness is not my fault!”

“The presenters were very knowledgeable and open about sharing their own experiences. It really helped to hear how they have dealt with everything.”

“I am more understanding now. When I get angry or frustrated, I don’t take it out on my loved one.”

 “Hearing from other families and their struggles help me not feel like I was alone”

“I learned how important it is to take care of myself as well as my loved one”

“The class and discussions around empathy really gave me insight to what my loved one is going through.”

“The teaching and support from the presenter’s was very informative, caring and engaging. The interaction with our group was very helpful.”

To register for the spring class, call NAMI Midland County at 989-948-3273 or email: NAMImidlandMI@gmail.com. This program has received generous financial support from #TeamUp, an effort of the Dow GLBI
One of NAMI's goals is to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
NAMI Midland also offers support groups that meet on the 2nd Monday of each month at 7pm. There’s a Family Support group for family members/caregivers and a Peer Connection group for persons living with a mental health condition. These groups are currently meeting online through Zoom. The next meetings are scheduled for March 14 and April 11. For Zoom information, again contact NAMI Midland.