Hannah Clemenson hosts this episode of the NAMI Montana Podcast with Colleen Rahn. They discuss NAMI Montana’s Education programs and support groups, including the relatively recent addition NAMI Friends and Family.

Listen to this episode to learn more about programs to help support you and your family. The episode is available below or wherever you get your podcasts.

A rough podcast transcript is provided below. It was automatically generated and then quickly edited. We apologize for any errors.

Hannah Clemenson 0:07
All right. Good morning. Good evening. Good day to mental health enthusiasts across Montana, across the world. Here we are back for another episode of NAMI Montana’s Podcast. I am summer intern, Hannah Clemensen, and today I’m sitting down with our education coordinator Colleen Rahn. Hello.

Hello, Hannah.

This is so exciting. So, today, as we have for the rest of the season, we’re going through the map of all the stuff that NAMI does. We have this nifty little map on the wall in our office. And it just shows everything that we do to keep us on track. And we’ve been going through kind of the advocacy sections of it. But today, we’re looking at the education sections, and Coleen is the best possible resource for that information. So we’re so happy to have her today.

Colleen Rahn 1:11
Oh, thank you, Hannah. Yeah, it’s a it’s kind of exciting what NAMI does for educating people with mental illness in their families. We have a family to family education class. And we have and that’s for family members with loved ones. And then we have peer to peer class education class as well, that is actually specifically for people with mental illness.

Hannah Clemenson 1:38
Those aren’t support groups. Those are like actual classes. Right?

Colleen Rahn 1:41
Those are classes. Yes. And they are I’ll talk about the Family-to-Family class first,

Hannah Clemenson 1:47
Yes, start with with that one.

Colleen Rahn 1:48
Okay. It is an eight-week education class. And it is taught by family members with loved ones who have been trained to facilitate the class and it’s an eight week class and it’s free. I said before, it’s specifically for people with loved ones who have loved ones or friends with mental illness if they want to get a better understanding of mental illness and kind of learn how to communicate better with their loved one.

Hannah Clemenson 2:20
That’s super exciting. Does that happen in Helena or,

Unknown Speaker 2:24
You know, we have 10 affiliates around the state. We have one in Billings, we have one in Bitterroot. Bozeman, Kalispell. Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Lewis town and Missoula. Okay, so not all of my affiliates have the family to family education class, but most of them do offer it. It because it’s an eight week class affiliates. They either teach it in the fall, or they teach it in the spring.

Hannah Clemenson 2:56
It’s kind of a lot of resources to do an eight week program all the time.

Unknown Speaker 3:00
Yeah, it is, it’s a lot of resources, a lot of people have to be have open schedules and people who apply to do or register to do the class, they have to commit to doing it for the eight weeks, because there’s so much information given each week. And that kind of the fun thing about or the good thing about the class is that it’s very interactive. You learn like you role model, you do some really, you talk a lot about what’s going on and you share in the in the class, you have that opportunity. It’s not like a counseling session or anything like that. It’s just basically information. You get information about mental the mental health conditions that your loved one might have, you learn how to understand the latest treatment options that includes medication, you discover like problem solving techniques, and coping strategies, strategies and communication skills, along with learning how to advocate for your family member through the mental health system, which is kind of a struggle for people. And then you can find the community support in a confidential setting. So you will not have to feel you don’t feel like you’re so alone in this.

Hannah Clemenson 4:18
Absolutely. That is wonderful. And the peer to peer support. The course in that is a lot the same, right?

Colleen Rahn 4:25
It’s really a lot the same. What you do is, it is again, it meets for eight sessions. It’s free. It’s facilitated by peers who have been trained by NAMI. So they in it’s a structured class, you learn how to find to find support in in a sincere, confidential setting. You learn how to set personal goals. You learn how to become your own advocates, with the mental health treatment system and improve coping and problem solving skills along with learning about the key And the resources that are available to you.

Hannah Clemenson 5:03
Right? Do you ever notice? Is that one like harder to fill up than the family to family?

Colleen Rahn 5:08
No, , it is not. It’s not harder to fill up at all. I would say on average, they’re about the same. There’s about the same amount of people that join both classes. They are not. I haven’t really learned or heard of a community doing them at the same time, though. of your.

Hannah Clemenson 5:31
Okay. Has anyone ever repeated the class? Like families or peers? Have they repeated the class to get like new up to date information? Or do you think once they do at once it’s enough?

Colleen Rahn 5:41
You know, I haven’t really heard of anybody repeating the class. But I have heard of like a family member going and then encouraging their other family members to go the next time the next round? I have heard of that. But no, I don’t think anybody’s I haven’t heard of anybody repeating having to repeat the class.

Hannah Clemenson 6:01
That’s good. Like, I’m just I’m just glad that once you go once you learn a lot about what you want to know about. So

Colleen Rahn 6:09
that can segue into our next thing that we offer is we offer support groups.

Hannah Clemenson 6:16
Indeed we do.

Colleen Rahn 6:17
So we have a family support group that meets while the one here in Helena Weitz meets monthly, and it is for those family members. And if you let’s say that you go to the class, and you’re you still think you need a little bit more support or information, or you still need to be around other people that can relate to what you’re going through you can the support groups are available. around the state, you know, I believe that most of my affiliates offer a fam Family Support Group.

Hannah Clemenson 6:55
Hmm. And some of them might even be meeting in person now.

Colleen Rahn 6:59
Oh, exactly. Yeah, some of them are meeting in person. And some of them, of course, are gonna still be online. But there’s alsoo some support groups that are that have that both options, like they have the in person

Hannah Clemenson 7:12
Hybrid model.

Colleen Rahn 7:13
Yeah, a hybrid model. Exactly. So you. So let’s say you’re in Great Falls, and you need a support group. And you learned that Helen is having one, just get a hold of the Helena affiliate, and you can join their group via Zoom.

Hannah Clemenson 7:30
Super cool. And I’ll just say I have attended one of those family support groups. And I didn’t know anybody. And I wasn’t from the Helena area, because I was from white Sulphur Springs at the time. But everyone was super kind to me, that they were really friendly and asked me questions and invited me to speak and also invited me to just sit tight if I wanted to. So I encourage you guys all to go to the family support group or the peer support group. If you think that would be helpful for you, because it’s wonderful. And everyone there is very welcoming.

Colleen Rahn 8:08
Yeah, they are. It’s really great. And just to reiterate, you know, support groups are all confidential. And the people who facilitate the groups are not counselors, not therapists. They’re not professionals. In that, I mean, there might be professionals on them outside, but the group is not somewhere where you go to get therapy, or counseling, it’s just a way for you to go in and talk about what’s going on and kind of get ideas from other people who have been through the same thing in both the peer support group, which is called Connection. And the family support group as well.

Hannah Clemenson 8:52
Yeah, I think it’s just wonderful for not feeling alone and remembering that there’s other people that are in your same situation and often in, in worse situations, or better ones, so you can get a better frame of what’s going on around you.

Colleen Rahn 9:05
Yeah, yeah, that’s so true.

Hannah Clemenson 9:08
Um, before we wrap this up, I really wanted to talk about something that we just had last week, the family and friends seminar. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Colleen Rahn 9:16
Oh, yes. Thanks, Hannah, for bringing that up. So every month, we do a statewide family and friends seminar and what the family and friends seminar is similar to the family to family, education classes, where you learn about different mental illnesses, you learn about different coping strategies, you learn how to communicate with your loved one and how to advocate for them. It’s a seminar. And so there’s no the thing that’s kind of different than going to the class or to the class is that you don’t like really have that back and forth conversation. It’s just information that’s that’s provided to you about that. We do a two hour seminar. Once a month, and we are we do it on the zoom. And so it’s offered statewide. And I think the hope is that if you need more than you get from the seminar, and there is a book that also goes along with it that can be mailed to you, or you can download that information and have that for yourself. The idea is that if you need more information than you, then you can go to the next Family-to-Family classes being presented in your community. And, and so if you’re curious about these classes, and this the support groups, if you go to NAMI Montana .org our website and go to our affiliate page, then it will show all of our affiliates and what classes they’re holding in their communities. And then you can it has numbers and resource that you can reach out and ask them about what they’re doing and kind of get involved that way.

Hannah Clemenson 11:00
You just make sure you’re up to date.

Colleen Rahn 11:03
Exactly. For the support groups, you don’t have to register for the support groups, you can just go or you can call the person that’s on the web on for connection and just say, Hey, you know, I’d like to find out more about this group. And then they’ll have kind of a heads up that people who facilitate. But you do need to need to register for the classes just so that our teachers know who’s coming in, and whatnot.

Hannah Clemenson 11:34
Absolutely. Yeah, I promise guys, it’ll all make a lot of sense. Once you get to the website. It’s super straightforward, and very easy to use, and the people are very easy to talk to. And the numbers are easy to find. So knock yourselves out. Yeah. Yeah. Um, thank you guys so much for listening. Thank you, Colleen, for being with me.

Thank you, Hannah.

This was super fun. And next week, I haven’t the slightest idea what we’ll be talking about. I might not get it might be just Matt and Collen doing the podcast. But we hope that you guys will tune in and enjoy it. We’re having so much fun doing these episodes for you guys. So I wish you the best week ever. And thanks for tuning in.

Colleen Rahn 12:22
Thank you.

Hannah Clemenson 12:23
Bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai