Support. It’s More Than Just a Word If you ask

someone to describe the sky you may hear words that include blue or clouds. Ask for a definition of support and you might hear foundation, reinforcement, caregiver, or help. If you ask a family caregiver or person with lived experience, you may also hear words that include concern, provision, encouragement, or financial assistance. There are at least 40 million Americans who provide care for an adult family member for all types of reasons. Caregivers fall into myriad categories; they may work outside the home, be retired, be single parents, widows, widowers—any number of circumstances. And every one of them needs support.

Whether you are a family caregiver or a person with lived experience, what does support mean to you, specifically? Do you get it? Just like a building or a bridge needs support to carry its load, so do you.

Support is one of the key elements of NAMI Franklin County’s mission along with education and advocacy. Three words that cover a broad spectrum of the free services we provide. Many of you have taken advantage of the myriad classes, lectures, symposiums, support groups, conversations, and advocacy channels that NAMI offers. If you have not, please consider joining us.

NAMI support groups are free, frequent, friendly, and confidential. You don’t have to register. Just attend as many as you want.* Family support groups meet seven times a month—different days and times to meet your needs. Of the seven support groups, one is for men only, another is for seniors, and Amigas, is conducted in Spanish. We also have three weekly support groups for people with a mental health condition. They are all places where everyone understands exactly what you’re going through because they are too.

Some think support groups are only for crisis situations. Yes, they do help during those times, but we have found that attending regularly—even when not in crisis—develops an almost inexplicable bond between those who have shared the challenges and successes they’ve faced and met with a newfound strength and courage. It is nice to know there is a safe place to share.

If you are a front-line caregiver or someone with lived experience, you need support to continue your efforts to help your loved one or maintain your recovery, respectively. Give us a call. We’re here to help (614-501-6264).
Karen Cousins, Program Manager

*Support groups are currently conducted via Zoom. Visit the NAMI Franklin County website (www.namifranklincounty.org) for detailed information about days and times.

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