Sparta NAMI-Sussex, one of 1,100 non-profit National Alliance on Mental Illness affiliates nationwide, held a celebration dinner for its Family to Family Education Program graduates at The Dining Room restaurant in Sparta last month. The course was held at the Redeemer Lutheran Church, in Newton. The program is a free 12-week, one-night-a-week course that educates and empowers family members caring for a loved one with a major mental illness. Mental health advocate George Appell is chair of the advisory board of Mental Health of Sussex County and Kathleen Fitzsimmons holds a seat on the board. This graduating class is honored to have two of its students, Paige Coyne and Berta Blanco, go on to take the national teaching course for the Family to Family Program. Blanco will teach the course in Spanish. Topics covered in this program include: What to do in a crisis Getting a clear diagnosis for a relative How to communicate better with a mentally ill family member What local services are available within the county What the medications are for What best treatments are now available How to take better care of oneself while caring for a mentally ill loved one Another Family to Family Education Program is scheduled for the fall of 2009. Class limited to 25 students. For information call 862-268-5846.