Finding Support – Mental Illness & Caregivers

Looking for support and resources to help care for a loved one with mental health concerns? A great first step is contacting your local NAMI chapter — the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a supportive and strong network with chapters all over the country. They have been where you are, and can help you start getting the support and resources you need – for yourself, and your loved one.

NAMI Programs

Education Classes

NAMI Basics
NAMI Basics is a class for parents and other family caregivers of children and adolescents who have either been diagnosed with a mental health condition or who are experiencing symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed. This course is also available in Spanish, Bases y Fundamentos de NAMI.

NAMI Family-To-Family
NAMI Family-to-Family is a class for families, partners and friends of individuals with mental illness. The course is designed to facilitate a better understanding of mental illness, increase coping skills and empower participants to become advocates for their family members. This program was designated as an evidence-based program by SAMHSA. The course is also available in Spanish, De Familia a Familia de NAMI.

NAMI Homefront
NAMI Homefront is a class for families, partners and friends of military service members and veterans experiencing a mental health challenge. The course is designed specifically to help these families understand those challenges and improve the ability of participants to support their service member or veteran.

NAMI Peer-To-Peer
NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a recovery education course open to anyone experiencing a mental health challenge. The course is designed to encourage growth, healing and recovery among participants. This program is also available in Spanish, De Persona a Persona de NAMI.

NAMI Provider Education
NAMI Provider Education is a class for line staff at facilities providing mental health treatment services. The NAMI Provider Education class is designed to expand the participants’ compassion for the individuals and their families and to promote a collaborative model of care.

Presentations

NAMI Ending The Silence
NAMI Ending the Silence is an in-school presentation designed to teach middle and high school students about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, how to recognize the early warning signs and the importance of acknowledging those warning signs.

NAMI In Our Own Voice
NAMI In Our Own Voice is a presentation for the general public to promote awareness of mental illness and the possibility of recovery. This program is also available in Spanish, En Nuestra Propia Voz de NAMI.

NAMI Parents & Teachers As Allies
NAMI Parents & Teachers as Allies is a presentation for teachers and other school personnel to raise their awareness about mental illness and help them recognize the early warning signs and the importance of early intervention.

NAMI Compartiendo Esperanza
NAMI Compartiendo Esperanza is a bilingual presentation for Latino communities designed to promote mental health awareness, explore signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and highlight how and where to find help.

NAMI Sharing Hope
NAMI Sharing Hope is a presentation for African American communities designed to promote mental health awareness, explore signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and highlight how and where to find help.

Support Groups

NAMI Connection
NAMI Connection is a weekly or monthly support group for people living with a mental health condition. This program is also available in Spanish, NAMI Conexión.

NAMI Family Support Group
NAMI Family Support Group is a weekly or monthly support group for family members, partners and friends of individuals living with a mental illness.

http://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs

Advertisements

Meditation – the Scientific Benefits

The Mental Health Benefits Of Meditation: It’ll Alter Your Brain’s Grey Matter, And Improve Memory, Sense Of Self

By Lecia Bushak

It appears that scientific evidence of meditation’s powers continues to add up. Meditation, in a way, is like exercise for our brains: it’s been shown to assist in mental health maintenance, improve our memory, empathy, and sense of self — similar to how exercise boosts our resilience, muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and blood pressure/cholesterol.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating studies published on meditation is one from several years ago — but one that is good to keep in mind if you’re interested in mental health and brain plasticity. The study, led by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), found that meditating for only 8 weeks actually significantly changed the brain’s grey matter — a major part of the central nervous system that is associated with processing information, as well as providing nutrients and energy to neurons. This is why, the authors believe, that meditation has shown evidence in improving memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress relief.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” Dr. Sara Lazar, a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology, said in the news release. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
The idea that mindfulness and meditation can bring you compassion, focus, and joy is thousands of years old, but it’s only recently that science has begun to back it.

In the study, 16 participants took a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program for 8 weeks. Before and after the program, the researchers took MRIs of their brains. After spending an average of about 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercise, the participants showed an increased amount of grey matter in the hippocampus, which helps with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. In addition, participants with lower stress levels showed decreased grey matter density in the amygdala, which helps manage anxiety and stress.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” Dr. Britta Holzel, an author of the study, said in the press release.

Another recent study examining the health benefits of positive thinking found that mindfulness exercises like meditation or yoga actually changed the length of telomeres in breast cancer patients — which works to prevent chromosomes from declining. And in the past, researchers have found that people who practiced meditation actually had different brain structures than people who didn’t.

Indeed, the notion that meditation can foster improved sense of self, compassion, happiness, and focus is thousands of years old, but it’s only now that science has begun backing it.

(www.medicaldaily.com)