Friday, March 5, 2010

New program offers counseling for mentally ill

Bilingual program developed by National Alliance on Mental Illness

Express Staff Writer

Someone who has suffered through a mental illness may have what it takes to help someone else struggling to recover.

That is the thinking behind a new bilingual program offered this month by the Wood River Valley Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Peer to Peer counseling program is for people challenged by mental illness who need to be reintegrated into the community.

"It is about getting support from someone who has suffered from a mental illness and is now living well in the community," said Wendy Norbom, one of seven people recently trained to be a Peer to Peer program facilitator.

Two of the facilitators are Spanish-speaking, making the program available to members of the Latino community.

The 10-week program was developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Washington, D.C. It is designed to provide mentoring and support for people suffering the effects of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, and other mental illnesses.

The training of facilitators was made possible by grants from the Wood River Women's Charitable Foundation and the Douglas W. and Gretchen K. Fraser Fund, through the Idaho Community Foundation.

The Wood River Valley Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness has been providing education, advocacy and support groups for 15 years, helping families understand brain disorders.

The Peer to Peer program will begin Friday, Mar. 26, in Hailey. For more information, call 720-9145.

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