In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
Or visit http://veteranscrisisline.net/
Confidential help for Veterans and their
Veterans Health Administration and NAMI's Partnership
NAMI Illinois, the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has been selected to partner with Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and Marion VA Medical Center to provide a free family education course for family caregivers of veterans affected by serious mental illnesses.
NAMI routinely offers a Family-to-Family Education in Illinois which will now be expanded to include the above veterans facilities specifically to help veterans' families.
The partnership is part of a national initiative in which the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is selecting facilities to partner with NAMI to offer the program.
NAMI Illinois is proud to be selected as one of the leaders for the national program. Veterans deserve the best health care possible and their families deserve support. Mental illness affects the entire family. Education and support for family members supports recovery.
The NAMI program is a free 12-week course for family members of veterans who live with mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is taught by trained family volunteers who themselves have experience with challenges posed by mental illness.
In weekly 2-3 hour sessions, family members receive information about mental illnesses, treatment, medications and recovery. They also learn self-care, communication skills, problem-solving and advocacy strategies.
The NAMI program is the most widely-used family education model in the United States. Two scientific studies on the effectiveness of this program found that course participants had a significantly decreased subjective (emotional) burden of mental illness, and an increased sense of empowerment regarding the system, the community, and family.
Results also have implications for helping veterans living with the illness directly, through less stressful home environments and greater family advocacy for appropriate treatment.
In 2003, VHA developed a Mental Health Strategic Plan that included the specific recommendation to implement the program in partnership with NAMI, as part of an overall transformation of its mental health care system. The current site selections represent a two-year demonstration project for the initial implementation of that recommendation, wit the expectation that local partnerships will provide models for expansion.
NAMI is proud to provide resources for veterans and active duty military members, as well as their families, friends, and advocates. Click here to view the Veterans Resource Center.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Publications available from the National Institute of Mental Health