Free class offered for parents of children with emotional, behavioral issues

A free class for parents, grandparents or other caregivers of children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues will be offered by NAMI Four County for four consecutive Saturdays starting August 31.

The class will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Four County ADAMhs Board office, located at T-761 State Route 66 south of Archbold. The class, called NAMI Basics, was professionally developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Since the class is held over lunchtime, lunch will be provided each week.

Lisa Holley, the class coordinator, explains the information covered is geared to parents and caregivers who either know or suspect that their child or teenager has a behavioral or mental health issue.

“If you are worried about your child’s constant irritability or unhappiness, or, if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells for fear of setting off another outburst, then the class is for you,” Holley said. “Or, if your child’s behavior is creating problems at school and you are wondering what is behind all of this and what can be done, then the class will begin to provide some answers.”

The class has three goals for participants.

– To give the parent or caregiver the basic information necessary to provide the best care possible for their child, their family and themselves.

– To help the parent or caregiver cope with the impact that mental illness has on the child living with the illness and the entire family, and

– To provide tools for the parent or caregiver to use after completing the program that will help them make the best decisions possible for the care of their child.

During the four weeks, the following topics and more will be covered: the emotional stages that the family goes through (crisis, shock, denial, grief and acceptance), help to understand what the child or teenager is going through, and current information about the best practice treatment options for illnesses such as attention deficit disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.

Some classes will help the parent with problem-solving, listening and communication skills, while others will focus on strategies that can be helpful when dealing with challenging behaviors of their child. The class will also help the parent or caregiver understand how to seek help from the school system as well as the mental health system. Time will be spent on planning for crisis management and relapse.

Participants will be given a binder for the numerous hand-outs that they will receive each class. Also, free gas cards can be provided for families that need that assistance in order to participate.

Although the class is free, pre-registration is necessary so the appropriate number of hand-outs can be printed and lunch ordered. To register or get more information about the class, please call Lisa Holley at 419-438-7384 by Monday, August 26.