The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine in collaboration with Mid-Coast Mental Health will sponsor a free Family-to-Family Education Program specifically for families of people diagnosed with mental illness.

The 12-week series of classes will begin Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mid-Coast Mental Health’s location in Owls Head. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to enroll, call Christine at 800-464-5767 or send an e-mail to ccantybrooks@namimaine.org.

The course will cover information about schizophrenia, mood disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other major mental illnesses. In addition, coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse, basic information about medications, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving skills, recovery and rehabilitation, and self-care around worry and stress will be included.

The course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult children, and significant others of people with severe and persistent mental illness.

The curriculum was written by an experienced family member mental health professional, and the course will be taught by NAMI family member volunteers who have taken intensive training as course instructors. The co-teachers are from the Midcoast.

“This course is a wonderful experience,” said Carol Carothers, executive director of NAMI, Maine. “It balances basic psycho-education and skill training with emotional support, self-care and empowerment. We hope families with relatives who have a mental illness will take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

Mid-Coast Mental Health, with locations in Rockland and Belfast, provides a variety of mental health services for the people of Midcoast Maine, including out-patient and substance abuse counseling, residential care, and crisis services.