Mental Health Education Programs Slated For East Hampton And Hampton Bays

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness will be holding free six-week and 12-week mental health courses in East Hampton and Hampton Bays starting this month.

NAMI, which advocates for access to services, treatment, support, research, and aims to raise awareness, is branching out to the East End with the education program to help give caregivers support for those with serious mental illness.

According to Meikle Blossom, a NAMI facilitator for the East Hampton course, the program is not a support group, but a class focused on those with immediate needs.

“There will be very condensed and sophisticated, up-to-date information on different medications and symptoms, how it feels from the perspective of a person who is mentally ill, how to deal with local resources, and what is more effective,” Ms. Blossom said. “We are lucky to be alive in this day and age when people can return to a normal, healthy life with the help of medication. A big component of this is that there can be recovery. Like a broken leg takes awhile for the leg to mend, it takes awhile for the mind to mend.”

NAMI had an educational program in Bridgehampton in 2011, Ms. Blossom said, which is when the community realized that the East End had a need.

Recently, there has been a call for improved mental health services on the East End, especially after East Hampton High School junior David Hernandez Barros took his own life in 2012.

Participants in the program will learn different ways to solve problems, ways to communicate with those having trouble, what different medications do and how to treat people with dignity and how to take care of themselves when taking care of others.

Ms. Blossom said that registration is still open.

The East Hampton class will begin on Saturday, January 11, and run six weeks at East Hampton High School at 2 Long Lane. Free of charge, the classes will run each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To register, call Ms. Blossom at 725-4342 or Kate Epstein at 324-6058.

The Hampton Bays class will begin on Thursday, January 16, and run 12 weeks at the Hampton Bays Public Library at 52 Ponquogue Avenue. The classes will run each Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. To register, call Gail Zappone at 283-2380, or email gpz12002@yahoo.com.

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