Armer Family Training Institute

The Armer Training Institute is dedicated to educating consumers, families, mental health professionals and the public about mental illness through a series of community and speaker forums. A variety of topics are covered, including Mental Health First Aid, Ask the Doctor, Mental Health Services, Healthcare Reform and the latest research into mental illnesses. Speakers from NAMI, Mental Health Advocacy and Mental Health America are invited to be occasional presenters. Other co-presenters include clients, family members, and various mental health professionals. These educational forums are designed to address the stigma and fear about mental illness; provide a perspective of what it is like to struggle with these disorders or have a loved one who suffers from mental illness; and address how individuals can find the path to recovery, and how the community can help.

Serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, and major depression occur at a very steady rate in the population. The illnesses are caused by a brain dysfunction. There is a genetic factor – in identical twins both will have schizophrenia only 49% of the time. The amount of public knowledge and awareness of these conditions is limited and skewed. Most people learn about psychosis through award-winning movie performances and the news. Stigma is a huge issue and many in the community are unnecessarily frightened.

Mr. and Mrs. Alan A. Armer
The Armer Training Institute honors the work of the late Mr. and Mrs. Alan A. Armer for their dedication to supporting mental health and for their most generous gift to the Alcott Center. Alan, an Emmy Award-winning TV producer whose 30-year career included the classic series The Fugitive, starring David Janssen and The Untouchables, the gangster drama starring Robert Stack, as well as 20th Century Fox's first TV series, My Friend Flicka, wrote three books about writing and directing for television and worked as a professor for 20 years at Cal State Northridge. The school's 130-seat theater is named The Alan and Elaine Armer Theater for the Armer's most generous donation.

However, despite the fame and success, Alan and Elaine felt helpless in their search for answers to help a family member who struggled with mental illness. In an effort to teach other families about mental illness, Elaine became a family-to-family trainer for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and worked with families to help them learn about and cope with their loved one's struggle with mental illness. It is the Armer's wish that this education continue and the Alcott Center is grateful to have the honor to see that this is accomplished through the Armer Training Institute.

Future Sessions and Panel
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