Organization offers free program for families of veterans - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Organization offers free program for families of veterans

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

Welcoming soldiers back from worn-torn countries can be tough on some families, so a local organization started a program to teach families how to take care of their loved ones. 

NAMI Waco recently started the Homefront Education Program, which is geared toward providing free training for those caring with soldiers who suffer from mental illnesses. It is a six-session program centered around helping family and friends how to help their soldier. 

Cynthia Cunningham is the executive director of NAMI Waco, and she said Central Texas benefits from this kind of educational program. 

"We have a lot of programs for veterans and military service, but the families have kind of been left out," Cunningham said. "We need more education for the families on how they can help their loved one."

The director said those who attend the sessions walk away with several things they need to know in order to help their loved with mental illness. Each session has a different topic. The topics range from knowing what kind of mental illnesses are out there, to teaching caregivers how to take care of themselves, as well as their service person.

"We teach them how to develop skills like communication problem solving and then kind of to prevent the crisis," Cunningham said. "We're finding solutions for things that make it better."

Bill and Ruth Mitchell both have family members who have served and both went through Homefront training. 

"There's not a lot of history of family support. They're always focusing on the veteran themselves, but they're not focusing on the heart of keeping a family together," Bill Mitchell said. "It helps those families say 'hey I can deal with this.'''

Now, that they've gone through training for the program, they hope to become instructors.

"I want their families to be able to reach out to them and say 'hey I care and i love you,''' Ruth Mitchell said. 

The classes are free and are held on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Doris Miller VA. March 7th is the last class in this session.

Cunningham said she hopes to offer the program at least four times each year. 

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