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Family-to-Family classes are training people how to support loved ones with mental illnesses

Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 22:49:49-05

The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI SLOCO) is hosting its Family-to-Family program to educate community members about how to understand and support someone with mental health issues.

The classes are offered five times a year and this next round will be virtual.

“They are directed to people who have a loved one with mental health issues and that can be anything from depression and anxiety to bipolar, schizophrenia,” said Aurora William, NAMI SLOCO’s Board President.

Topics discussed include brain biology, navigating the healthcare system, mental illness symptoms and medications.

William said these are life-changing courses because they are led by volunteer instructors who know first-hand what tools are needed to aid a family member with a mental illness

“It helps them shift the perspective of — this is my loved one and I wish they stopped being X,Y,Z, whatever that is, to my loved one has a brain disease and I can help. This isn’t a fix, this isn’t going to be fixed, this is a life journey and how do I partner with my loved one so we can all live well,” William explained.

The classes are sponsored by SLO County Behavioral Health Department, NAMI SLOCO and Transitions Mental Health.

“Truly what NAMI wants to do is help drive the force that ‘you are not alone,’ there are other families out there,” William added. “They help equip people, so they know what to do, who to call, what language to use.”

Starting on Jan. 21, 2023, the eight free sessions will take place via Zoom on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. They are expected to wrap up on March 11, 2023.

In April, there will be another round of classes in person. Each session has 20 to 24 participants.

To sign up, you can click here. You can also call Aurora William at (805) 236-1007 or email her at