NAMI Eastside Programs
Our support groups and classes provide an opportunity to share coping strategies and insights, as well as problems and concerns with others. NAMI Eastside hosts 6 support groups for family members which meet once each month. Groups are located in Bellevue (near Factoria), Issaquah, Redmond, and Kirkland (two at Fairfax Hospital). We have two groups for family members and individuals with a mental illness; one group is for Spanish speakers. The other, Mental Health and Spirituality meets twice each month in Bothell.
We also offer support groups for individuals with a brain disease. "NAMI Connections" meets every Wednesday at the Together Center in Redmond, every Friday at the City of Snoqualmie Fire Department and on the first and third Wednesday at the Newport Hills Fire Station #9. We have a group for young people, ages 18-30 that meets monthly.
Our "Family-to-Family" class is the best thing that NAMI does. It is a free 12 week class for family members of people impacted by mental illness. We also offer a class for parents of young children with an illness and a class for adults with a mental illness. The courses include accurate, up-to-date information about brain disorders, treatment modalities and medications as well as information about local crisis and mental health services and support groups.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our annual children's conference was held in March of 2013. More than 200 family members, educators, and clinicians attended. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Dan Reidenberg of SAVE. We also offered Q&A panels of experts in 8 different areas related to mental illness in children. Each participant could attend two. The program was free.
Like other human service agencies NAMI Eastside is struggling with a loss of city and county funds as we try to meet the needs of Eastside residents. One family in four is affected by mental illness and the additional struggle people face as a result of the economic crisis only exacerbates an already serious problem. We need sustainable funding so that necessary programs can be established and maintained.