Southern Santa Barbara County NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will present the Family-to-Family Education Program, taking place at the Mental Wellness Center, 617 Garden St. in Santa Barbara, from Sep 3- Nov 19.

The Family-to-Family Education Program, designated as an evidence-based practice by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is a series of 12 free weekly classes structured to help caregivers understand and support individuals with serious mental illness while maintaining their own well-being.

Class members include parents, siblings, adult children and significant others of people with the following illnesses: major depression, bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression), schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, co-occurring brain and addictive disorders.

The course is taught by a team of trained NAMI family member volunteers who know what it is like to have a loved one who is struggling with one of these brain disorders. The program is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Santa Barbara County. NAMI is a program of the Mental Wellness Center.

Pre-registration is required and space is limited. For registration or information regarding NAMI, contact family advocate Carol Hawkes at 805.884.8440 x3206 or

— Carol Hawkes is a family advocate for the Mental Wellness Center.