Mental health education program starts Wednesday

Emily Mills

The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County and the National Alliance on Mental Health of Portage County are sponsoring Family-to-Family, a mental-health education program.

The free program starts Wednesday at the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County, located at 155 E. Main St., and runs for 12 weeks. It meets every Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. except for holiday weeks.

Family-to-Family is open to anyone who has a family member or friend with a mental illness. There are some restrictions on children fewer than 16 years old. Participants will be educated about the biology of the brain, major mental illnesses, treatments, rehabilitation services, problem-solving, communication and advocacy.

“It gives family members an appreciation for what their family member is going through,” said Amie Cajka, director of community relations for the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County.

Family-to-Family is a national program founded by Joyce Burland. Burland is a psychologist with a daughter who has a mental illness.

The program teaches participants how to accept a loved one’s mental illness.

“It takes a toll on the person with the mental illness and the family member,” Cajka said.

All program teachers have family and friends with a mental illness.

“They have experience,” Cajka said. “They know what [the other families have] been through.”

To register, call 330-673-1756 or email [email protected].

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].