BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently announced two new mental health recovery support groups that will be offered in Brattleboro beginning Jan. 7. The Brattleboro Retreat and Turning Point of Windham County have partnered with NAMI Vermont to offer one of the groups on a psychiatric unit at the Brattleboro Retreat and another as part of a program offering at Turning Point.

The meetings, known as NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group meetings, are free 90-minute recovery support groups for people living with mental illness. Participants learn from one another's experiences, share coping strategies and offer mutual respect, encouragement, understanding, and hope. The groups provide an ongoing opportunity to discuss the challenges of living with mental illness and the techniques for maintaining wellness. All groups are facilitated by trained peers who are living in recovery.

"We're excited about our new partnership with NAMI because it focuses on helping patients feel comfortable sharing and talking to peers, which is a huge part of the recovery process," said Gwynn Yandow, director of Social Work Services at the Brattleboro Retreat. "They'll be exposed to individuals who have had similar experiences and who are now doing well. That's a big motivator for patients to begin attending support groups in the community when they leave the hospital."

The Connection Support Group at the Turning Point begins on Jan. 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Meetings are scheduled every first and third Tuesday of the month. The meeting is open to any individual who has a mental illness including: bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety and dual diagnosis (combination of mental illness and substance abuse).

For more information, contact NAMI Vermont at 1-800-639-6480 or program@namivt.org or to find a complete list of all of its offerings, visit www.namivt.org.