National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Oklahoma will offer free Family to Family classes beginning Sept. 4th.

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Oklahoma will offer free Family to Family classes beginning Sept. 4th.


“It’s all in your head. How many times have you heard that line when talking about mental illness? Well, it is all in your head. Your brain—the primary organ in your head—is the most complex of all our bodily systems. Further, researchers have identified genetic, chemical and physical differences in the brains of those affected with these brain disorders. However, the brain is also the least accessible or understood, often resulting in years of suffering, alienation and lost productivity. Unfortunately mental illness is not uncommon,” said Labeth Nall NAMI-SO President, who will teach the class along with Mike Scherf.


Nall and Scherf are  eager to share the successes of friends and relatives who have returned to a full and productive life after years of illness. The successful evidence-based peer instruction course Family-to-Family has been presented to over 100 Ardmoreites in the previous 10 years, resulting in heartening success stories.


“Greater understanding is the key,” Nall said. “Understanding the illness itself allows us to see past the symptoms to the loved ones we’ve missed—and to reach out and re-connect, helping them look for and walk the road to recovery.”


The 12-session class is held in an encouraging, confidential environment and presents a smorgasbord of information and techniques for participants to learn and try.


“It’s probably equivalent in depth to a 2-hour college course,” Scherf said. “Yet it is easily accessible to any who join us in class.”


NAMI Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services have joined forces to make the classes free and accessible to Oklahomans who love and care for individuals living with mental illness. Classes begin 6:30 p.m. each week in First Baptist Church Annex, 225 1st Ave. SW.  Pre-enrollment is required and space is limited. To enroll or ask questions call Scherf at (580) 319-9319 or NAMI Oklahoma at (800) 583-1264.  


According to NAMI statistics one in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—experience a mental health disorder in a given year. The World Health Organization lists depression as the leading cause of disability among people between the ages of 15 and 44.  But much can be done to relieve the most severe symptoms, freeing people from disability during the part of their lives which is normally most productive.


Doctors and researchers continue making giant strides each year in understanding and treating this most vital part of our bodies. As a result, mental illness is rapidly becoming one of the most treatable of debilitating disorders. New and enhanced medications, systems of care, and alternative treatments have made recovery possible for millions.