MUSCATINE, Iowa—After Muscatine County’s Community Health Needs Assessment identified increasing access to mental health services as a top priority in 2018, public health officials in Muscatine reached out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness of the Greater Mississippi Valley (NAMI) for assistance. NAMI had provided programming in the area in 2004, and Christy Roby Williams, Director of Public Health at UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine, felt they might offer services in the county again if they could receive local support. Thanks to a generous Muscatine Health Support Fund grant, NAMI will lead programs in Muscatine for the next three years.
Vicki Walters, the education and support coordinator for NAMI, shared that the organization will bring several programs to the county. Led by trained volunteers who have experience working with people with mental illnesses, each class will provide valuable information for many different people.
For anyone interested in learning more about mental illness and how to help friends and family members dealing with it, NAMI will offer free 90-minute Friends and Family seminars. These events provide a look at different common mental illnesses, their treatments, and effective resources people can use to help those with mental illness.
Parents and caregivers for children with mental illness or mental illness symptoms can participate in NAMI’s Basics Program. This free six-week course helps them understand different mental illnesses, effective treatment choices, and support systems available to help their child thrive.
Anyone caring for an adult with mental illness may attend Family to Family, a free eight-week course similar to Basics. This program goes into detail on many areas caregivers may want to learn about, such as problem solving and communication skills, and also provides information on how caregivers can care for themselves.
NAMI will begin offering programming in Muscatine in February, with their first Family and Friends Seminar taking place Monday, Feb. 10 at the Musser Public Library at 5:30 p.m. They will also offer their first Family to Family class beginning Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. at Muscatine Community College. Walters also shared that NAMI hopes to begin a weekly parents and caregivers support group in the near future. For more information on each of their offerings and to pre-register for classes, or to volunteer, visit NAMI’s website at https://www.namigmv.org/.
As NAMI prepares to bring its services to Muscatine, Williams says Public Health looks forward to partnering with them and feels grateful for the mental health services they will provide. “We are very thankful for their partnership,” she said.
Likewise, Walters feels excited to expand NAMI’s work to more people who can benefit from it: “Our programs really provide hope and help. There really is recovery from mental health conditions,” she shared.