On March 31st there is a free course being offered for loved ones who are supporting a person with a mental illness. This course is an eleven week introduction into the world of mental illness and how you can become a better advocate for your loved one.
As someone having over five years of experience caring for a loved one experiencing clinical depression, it’s not an easy road to travel. Among the sea of health care professionals that your loved one will have to see for “this, that and the other thing”; it can be quite overwhelming. People with mental illnesses have a lot to gain by family caregivers working collaboratively with professionals in the mental health system.
Topics covered in the course include enhancing your communications skills [between you and your loved one], fighting stigma [advocating for your loved one], and self-care [taking care of yourself].
Self-care is an important component to effectively support your loved one; if you can’t take time to take care of yourself, how are you going to be able to effectively support your loved one? It’s something that a lot of caregivers and family members don’t realize; however it’s a crucial step of the process.
Those taking the course are provided with a three-ring binder filled to the brim with great community resources they can return to in order to help them to ease their loved one from the crisis to recovery a little faster.
In the Cornwall region, this life-changing course is offered through the Cornwall & District Family Support Group. For almost ten years, NAMI-trained family members from this group have volunteered to teach this course. NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The thing that separates this course from many others is that while we are not professionals; the co-facilitators are also supporting a loved one just like the target audience, so we are able to speak from our experiences and not just from the textbook. I am one of the co-facilitators for this course. I jumped on board with this endeavour because when I took the course as a participant, it allowed me to establish stronger communication with my loved one in helping them deal with their mental health challenge. If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, because space is limited. You can call for more information at (613) 936-9236.