The National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine will sponsor a free Family-to-Family Education Program specifically for family and friends of people diagnosed with mental illness.

The 12-week series of classes will be offered at Pen Bay Medical Center’s Physicians Building in Rockport beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to enroll, call Dean or Danita Courtney at 594-1939; or via email: danitajc@yahoo.com.

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

The course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult children and significant others of loved ones coping with severe and persistent mental health issues. The curriculum has been written by an experienced mental health professional and the course will be taught by local NAMI family member volunteers.

“This course is a wonderful experience,” said Carol Carothers, executive director of NAMI Maine, in a news release. “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.”

For more information you can also contact Christine Canty Brooks at the NAMI Maine office at 800-464-5767, or via e-mail: ccantybrooks@namimaine.org.