Family-to-Family program – NAMI El Paso
El Paso, Texas
Families and care givers are making connections and learning that support and treatment options do exist to help loved ones with mental health conditions.
Through Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Think.Change Initiative, one of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) signature programs is available in El Paso. The program known as Family-to-Family teaches concise, empathetic communication with a family member who has a mental health condition. Participants learn how the brain and medications work and learn to be advocates for their loved one at different levels.
The goal of Think.Change is to reduce stigma and negative bias associated with mental illness. Increasing availability of NAMI’s Family-to-Family courses is a leading effort to accomplish the goal.
With the support of the Think.Change Initiative, NAMI El Paso has held 27 Family-to-Family classes. Each class has between 15 and 25 participants, with up to three different class groups going on in a single month.
The curriculum helps family members to not only learn about the myths and facts of serious and persistent mental illnesses, but also to understand how the experience of these conditions and the associated negative bias affects their relative.
“I have seen families and individuals face anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. I see families in shock, sidetracked by an unfair, relentless and undiscriminating force. I also see victories, progress and resolve,” says Nellie Mendoza, Family-to-Family Coordinator, NAMI El Paso. “There are so many complexities with each story. Thanks to the efforts of NAMI teachers, facilitators, presenters and staff I see dedicated people performing extraordinary work with kindness, dedication and compassion. El Paso is truly fortunate to have NAMI programs.”
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