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MESA Family Workshops

Listing of MESA classes in Virginia

In nature a mesa is an isolated elevation. The metaphor symbolizes the need for all involved with mental illness to reach a higher level of understanding, acceptance, and adaptation. The image also represents isolation families often experience, the feelings of being along in the fight against mental illness; this isolation we wish to dispel.

MESA Family Workshops are a series of classes for family and caregivers who are affected by mental illness. A major goal of MESA is to reduce stress in the lives of families through education on mental illness, coping strategies, and community resources, and support that develops among participants. Workshops are held throughout the Commonwealth and are co-led by family members and mental health professionals highlighting that both have special knowledge and skills to share: An emphasis on MUTUAL acknowledgement that families and professionals EDUCATE and SUPPORT each other and in this process, gain a greater understanding a respect for each other. An alliance develops among families and professionals which creates a stronger voice for ADVOCACY for the needs of people who have mental illnesses. The MESA Family Workshops have proven effective in beginning or enhancing affiliates for NAMI Virginia in many communities throughout Virginia.


The 12 to 16 week course includes the following sessions:

    Part I: Information and Support

  1. What is Mental Illness?
  2. Impact of Mental Illness on the Family
  3. Symptoms of Mental Illness - Focus on Schizophrenia
  4. Symptoms of Mental Illness - Focus on Mood Disorders
  5. Impact on Sense of Self: Substance Abuse, Suicide Risk
  6. Diagnostic Process and Theories on Causes
  7. Impact of Stress
  8. Part II: Skills Building

  9. Communication I
  10. Communication II
  11. Communication III
  12. Problem Solving
  13. Guidelines
  14. Part III: Resource Series

  15. Medications and Research on Causes of Mental Illness
  16. Community Resources I
  17. Community Resources II
  18. Community Resources III

Upcoming Training

MESA Teacher Trainings are offered periodically throughout the year.

For more information, please contact Sarah Eisenman, NAMI Virginia's Director of programs at seisenman@namivirginia.org or at (804) 285-8264 x203.

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, the training is provided free of charge to participants.

Affiliate and MESA Program Leaders' Resources

Please make sure to check out resources on the MESA Program found under 'Resources for Strengthening your NAMI Program to help your program succeed!

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, the training is provided free of charge to participants.

Call us:(804) 285-8264
Fax us:(804) 285-8464
HelpLine:1 (888) 486-8264
General administrative questions:namiva@verizon.net
HelpLine information & resources:info@namivirginia.org

PO Box 8260, Richmond, VA 23226-0260