The Sussex County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in partnership with Family Partners of Morris & Sussex, will offer the "NAMI Basics" course on Wednesday evenings, beginning Oct. 11.

NAMI Basics is a free six-session course for parents/guardians of children and teens with emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges. The course will be held Wednesdays, 6:30-9 p.m., at Family Partners of Morris & Sussex, 67 Spring Street.

The course will be taught by two parents who have experienced mental health and behavioral challenges with their own children. The comprehensive curriculum covers Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Childhood Schizophrenia. Parents of children on the autism spectrum may also find the course helpful.

Course participants will gain empathy and insight into the emotional experience of the child living with mental health and behavioral challenges. As caregivers, they will learn more effective listening, communication and problem-solving skills. Acknowledgment of the stresses and strains on the family, including siblings, will be an important component of the course.

Current research related to the biology of mental health challenges is covered in the course, along with how to get an accurate diagnosis for a child. Treatment options are discussed, including how medications work and their pros and cons in the treatment of children. Families will learn how to find supports and services within the school system and the community.

A theme of the NAMI Basics course is that "No one should have to face this journey alone!"

For more information, or to register for the course, call 201-532-2267 or 973-214-0632 or email nami.sussex@gmail.com. Class size is limited to 15. Interested parents/guardians are urged to register as soon as possible.

For more information about NAMI Sussex, visit www.nami-sussex-nj.org. For more information about Family Partners of Morris and Sussex, visit www.familypartnersms.org.