Free online support groups and mental health seminars available in Utah

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UTAH (ABC4 News) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Utah is providing free online support groups and mental health seminars to anyone in our state impacted by mental illness.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with a global pandemic upon us, NAMI said they have seen these services are needed now more than ever.

Additionally, NAMI Utah will have 90-minute mental health education workshops online each Thursday in May at 7:00 p.m. which provide information on signs, symptoms, treatments, and resources.

The presenters are NAMI Family-to-Family teachers who will share their stories of having a family member with a mental health condition.

“We are excited to be offering online support groups and mental health education seminars online. We know there is tremendous need, especially in light of new stressors related to COVID-19,” says Robert Wesemann, Executive Director of NAMI Utah. Mr. Wesemann says that the response from participants in pilot online support groups is very promising. “We’re learning that people are truly able to find a safe space to share and gain support from one another. It’s a different format, but very effective.”

Sherrie Llewelyn, State trainer of support group facilitators, said being able to offer this to the community is remarkable. “The positive response of NAMI Utah’s pilot online support groups brings tears to her eyes,” said Llewelyn. “This quarantine feels so isolating and lonely for people who don’t regularly struggle with mental illness.”

NAMI Utah Board President Owen Ashton said he was worried about people’s ability to emotionally connect in an online format but was pleased that when he participated in the Connection support group earlier in April, he was able to personally connect.

If anyone is concerned about confidentiality in an online format or their ability to use video conferencing, NAMI Utah said they assures confidentiality, and technological problems have been minimal.

In addition to the family support groups every Tuesday, adults with mental health conditions are invited to attend connection support groups every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.

Participants must register ahead of time and will receive a weekly confidential log-in invitation, which allows them to join the online meeting. You can register for support groups at https://form.jotform.com/200846724854158.

Family and Friends education seminars will be held each Thursday in May at 7:00 .pm. To register, contact Eric Keil at eric@namiut.org.

NAMI Utah states their mission is to ensure the dignity and improve the lives of those who live with mental illness and their families through our three cornerstones: support, education, and advocacy. All programs and classes are offered at no charge for anyone who has mental illness or a friend or family member of someone with mental illness.

NAMI Utah’s programs include Ending-the-Silence for students, families, and
school support staff, school-based Progression (teens 13 – 18) and Basics (parents) classes. NAMI Utah’s Mentor Line takes calls Monday through Friday, 9 am – 4 pm.

For more information about NAMI Utah, call 801-323-9900 or visit their website: www.namiut.org

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