Hospital plans for mental health education sessions

GREENFIELD — Hancock Health officials hope two upcoming programs aimed at bolstering mental health awareness will lead to building a community framework of support for patients and their families.

The National Association on Mental Illness of Greater Indianapolis plans to send facilitators to Greenfield to host two free educational sessions, a 10-week program for people battling mental illness, and a 12-week program for family support, said Hancock Regional Hospital system of care coordinator Amanda Hinkle.

Bringing the programs to Hancock County has a two-fold purpose, Hinkle said: first, the sessions will provide education and support to people affected by mental illness, whether they struggle with an issue of their own or they want to support a loved one with a mental illness.

Secondly, association leaders hope some of those who complete the 10- and 12-week programs will feel led to become facilitators themselves and volunteer to host the educational sessions yearly, or host support groups held more regularly, she said.

People often call the hospital looking for support groups, both for people with mental illness and those who love them, she said.

“Unfortunately, we just don’t have anywhere to turn them to,” she said. “A lot of good will come out of this … It’s a need that has been voiced in our community.”

The peer-to-peer education program will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Feb. 20, in the orange classroom at Hancock Regional Hospital, 801 N. State St., Greenfield. The family-to-family education program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Feb. 13, at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center in second floor conference room.

The peer-to-peer support program is designed for adults living with mental illness and is a weekly, two-hour program that provides an educational setting focused on recovery that offers respect, understanding, encouragement and hope, according to a news release.

Meanwhile, the family-to-family program is designed to help family members understand and support their loved one living with mental illness, while maintaining their own well-being. The program is taught by trained teachers who are also family members and know what it is like to have a loved one living with mental illness, according to a news release.

People on the hospital’s system-of-care team, a board of local community organizations that work to support families, showed a lot of interest in the family-to-family program, said Amanda Everidge, hospital healthy community manager.

“There’s excitement around the opportunity to have a conversation about how to be there for a loved one with a mental health challenge and also caring for yourself,” Everidge said.

Spots are limited for both programs: 12 to 15 people will be allowed in the peer-to-peer sessions and about 25 people may register for the other; those interested should register by Monday, Hinkle said.

To register, contact National Association on Mental Illness of Greater Indianapolis at 317-257-7517 or info@namiindy.org.

If you go

National Assocation on Mental Illness of Greater Indianapolis hosts a free peer-to-peer education program for people living with mental illness. The 10-week program will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Feb. 20, in the orange classroom at Hancock Regional Hospital, 801 N. State St., Greenfield.

The free family-to-family education program, for people with loved ones with mental illness, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Feb. 13, at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center, second floor conference room.

Spots are limited; those interested should register by Feb. 5.

To register, contact National Association on Mental Illness of Greater Indianapolis at 317-257-7517 or info@namiindy.org.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.