Tri-County Health: Families Supporting Families

Tri-County Health: Families Supporting Families

Telluride’s Tri-County Health Network program to provide peer support to family members of people living with mental illness. For more information or to register, please contact Tri-County Health Network at 970-708-7096 or

Do you have a family member or friend who has a mental illness? You may feel isolated at times, believing that you are the only person or family experiencing life with a person suffering with a mental illness. But you are not alone: 1 in 5 Coloradoans will experience a mental health or substance use problem this year.

Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) is pleased to announce that they will be hosting the second Family-to-Family, a program for families and friends living with or caring for someone with a mental illness. The first class was held over the summer of 2018 with attendees from Telluride, Mountain Village, Norwood, Ridgway and Ouray attending. The group has continued to meet monthly to support one another.

Developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Family-to-Family is a free 12-session educational program for family members, significant others, and friends of people living with mental illness. NAMI-trained community members—who either themselves have experienced a mental illness or who have lived with a family member diagnosed with a mental illness—facilitate this evidence-based initiative.

From January 9th to March 27th, 2019, TCHNetwork will offer Family-to-Family on Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Placerville Schoolhouse 9. The program is free, and dinner will be served.

At least 8.4 million Americans are providing care to an adult with an emotional or mental health issue, and nearly 75% report that caregiving causes high emotional stress.

“Mental illness is a condition that affects the whole family,” explained Gail Gibson Hunt, President, and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. “Caregivers noted that they felt isolated by the stigma of mental illness. They reported high levels of emotional stress. It’s time to bring these families out of the darkness and get them help.”

Ben Marshall, one of the facilitators, explained: “NAMI Family-to-Family is something that was created to give people and families the support they need. It is one thing to get support from those who were taught about the effects of mental illness in a classroom. Getting peer support and education from those of us that have lived it is much more valuable.  Our first class filled a gap in our community and we’re excited to offer it again to a new set of community members.”

The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact—you can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. You can also help others through your own experience.

In the program, you’ll learn about:

• How to manage crises, solve problems and communicate effectively
• Taking care of yourself and managing your stress
• Developing the confidence and stamina to provide support with compassion
• Finding and using local supports and services
• Up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain
• Current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications, and side effects
• The impact of mental illness on the entire family

A recent Family-to-Family participant said: “Before I took the course, I felt alone and overwhelmed dealing with my daughter’s mental illness. By taking this course, I have met others who are going through the same things I am and have learned about many resources that I never knew existed.”

About Tri-County Health Network:

Formed in 2010, Tri-County Health Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with offices in Telluride and Naturita. TCHNetwork operates 20 Community Outreach Programs that serve a vital role in filling the void of access to health care by assuring care is accessible, affordable, and available to all populations in their four-county region (San Miguel, Montrose, Ouray, and Delta counties). The program is committed to increasing access to care, building health equity, and eliminating health disparities. For more information, visit

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