On Monday, Jan. 20, trained local volunteers working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will begin a course for family members of individuals with serious mental illness. This is a free, 12-week series of classes on consecutive Mondays, through April 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in Vineyard Haven.

This is an amazing, supportive and informative course that I highly recommend. As close relatives of children or adults with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression or other mental illnesses, we often feel isolated, challenged, confused, angry and are grieving. This course strengthens us, teaches us communication skills, and how we can (and cannot) constructively support our loved one. The classes include detailed information about mental illness, therapies, medications and community resources. Classmates who share our situations provide deep understanding and compassion.

If you have a mentally ill family member, please consider taking this course. I did. The relief I gained and the skills I learned were tremendous. I became able to more fully understand, accept and love my mentally ill family member.

For information and to register, call Lori at 508-423-2619, Daryl at 508-627-5249 or Peggy at 508-693-5872.

Cynthia Aguilar
West Tisbury