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National Alliance on Mental Illness Buffalo & Erie County family support groups now available online

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Tue, Sep 1st 2020 02:45 pm

As the local community continues dealing with the COVID pandemic and the need to maintain safe public health practices, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Buffalo & Erie County is more aware than ever of the need for families to have support in coping with increasing stresses, especially for loved ones living with the challenges of mental illness.

While in-person education meetings and family support groups are not yet possible, NAMI Buffalo has continued to operate its HelpLine at 716-226-6264. It is now also offering five monthly Family support groups online, using Zoom technology.

Recognizing the need many have in Niagara County for access to technology, NAMI Buffalo has partnered with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to provide space and computer access with technical support at the hospital for those who need such help to be able to participate. Transportation to and from the meeting will be available in the metro Niagara Falls area for participants who want to use the Niagara Falls technology access space. Space is limited.

“These unusual times call for extraordinary response measures. NAMI is committed to doing what is needed to continue helping families coping with serious mental illness. We are very proud of our volunteers' dedication to tackling all new technology to continue to educate, advocate for, and support WNY families whose loved ones often suffer with serious mental illness," NAMI Buffalo & Erie County Executive Director Michele Brooks said.

NAMI family support groups are available for adult family members and caregivers (over age 18) of people living with mental illness. Family support group meetings are confidential and led by trained NAMI member volunteers with family experience of a loved one living with mental illness.

August family support group meetings are as follows (two new times added):

•Wednesday, Aug. 5, noon-1:30 p.m. (and every first Wednesday of the month). 

The Niagara Falls technology access space is available for this group. To sign up to participate from the hospital technology access space, call Taylor at 716-343-3061 to reserve a computer. Social distancing and masks are required to participate.

•Thursday, Aug. 13, 7-8:30 p.m. (and every second Thursday of the month). The Niagara Falls technology access space is available for this group. To sign up to participate from the hospital technology access space, call Taylor at 716-343-3061 to reserve a computer. Social distancing and masks are required to participate.

•Wednesday, Aug. 19, 7-8:30 p.m. (and every third Wednesday of the month).

•Thursday, Aug. 20, 7-8:30 p.m. (and every third Thursday of the month)

•Wednesday, Aug. 26, 7-8:30 p.m. (and every fourth Wednesday of the month).

The Niagara Falls technology access space is available for this group. To sign up to participate from the hospital technology access space, call Taylor at 716-343-3061 to reserve a computer. Social distancing and masks are required to participate.

There is no charge to attend a NAMI family support group; however, to ensure both confidentiality and safety, preregistration is required. To request to preregister, email [email protected] with name, phone number and date of the group to attend. Adult family members or caregivers anywhere in Western New York can attend a group, not just the City of Buffalo, or Erie or Niagara counties.

To use the technology access space or arrange transportation, call Taylor at 716-343-3061 by 3 p.m. the day before the meeting.

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