After Donna and Phil Middleton’s son was diagnosed with a mental health disorder four years ago, they were left with feelings of fear, shock, frustration and grief.
Those feelings showed Donna Middleton the need for a group that would allow the caregivers of those with mental health conditions to share their experiences, she said.
Beacon of Hope met for the first time this week to talk through the emotions and responsibilities associated with caring for someone with a mental illness, she said. It is also open to friends and family members of those with a mental health condition.
“We don’t have all the answers, but together as a group we can certainly lend support and encouragement to one another,” she said.
Middleton also expects group members can provide each other with guidance on how to navigate the mental health world.
Caregivers often face responsibilities that seem overwhelming, such as finding proper medical care and medications, she said.
The Middletons faced those challenges while seeking care for their son who, at 17, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Middleton said.
Middleton had been thinking about starting a support group for a while when she heard about someone else in the community who was searching for a group like Beacon of Hope, she said.
“I needed that little push,” she said.
The group is not formal therapy, but Middleton is open to inviting trained therapists to a meeting, she said.
The group’s next meeting will be from 6 to 7:15 p.m. June 3 at First United Methodist Church, 2917 Aspen Drive in Room 204.
For more information, visit Beacon of Hope-Durango on Facebook or call Middleton at 759-9944.