Do you or someone in your family suffer from a mental illness? Have you been looking for support as you try to help yourself or a loved one live with mental illness and its impact?

If so, you should plan to attend a workshop featuring the services and classes offered by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to be held Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Education Center next to Waldo County General Hospital.

Anne Perschon, a NAMI volunteer, will discuss the classes, services and support groups sponsored by NAMI and how they can help make the lives of those with mental illness and their caregivers better.

Mental illnesses impact the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children and can include, among other diagnoses, eating disorders, major depression, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the estimated 60 million Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support and research and is committed to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.

To accomplish its promise to build better lives for those impacted by mental illnesses, NAMI provides education, support and advocacy programs and services that benefit individuals and families affected by mental illness in communities across the country.

Among the classes to be discussed on Jan. 31 and to be offered in the area this spring are Family to Family, a 12-week course to teach family members about mental illnesses and the various medications used for treatment, strategies for coping and how to talk to someone who is in the throes of an episode.

Without support, families often find themselves baffled, frustrated, demoralized and chaos can erupt. Talking with others who have faced similar situations can be helpful.

The second class is Peer-to-Peer, a nine-week course for those who suffer from mental illness and would find it helpful to talk with others about how they deal with the symptoms of their illness.

Perschon says she has used NAMI services and was so impressed with the help that she received that she now works as an unpaid volunteer for the group. She said an individual from the last Family to Family course will likely be in attendance as well to share how the free classes helped her and her family.

Pershon said NAMI has an 800 number for people impacted by mental illness to check on resources available to them, including help with getting services for people who have no money. There are also online forums and chat rooms and a support group will be starting up in the area soon.