In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness
- An informational outreach program on recovery
presented by trained consumers to other consumers,
families, students, professionals, and all people
wanting to learn about mental illness.
- Designed to offer insight into how people with serious
mental illnesses cope with the realities of their
disorders while recovering and reclaiming productive
lives with meaning and dignity.
- An opportunity for consumers to gain self-confidence,
self-esteem, and income while serving as role models for
- Living proof that mental illness is nothing to be
ashamed of and that recovery is an ongoing reality.
- Hear from people who have struggled with disorders
such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major
depression, and other severe mental illnesses. These
presenters offer insight and hope by their example and
testimonials of their experiences.
- The brief video features consumers speaking about the
topics of Dark Days, Acceptance, Medications, Coping
Skills, Successes, and Hopes and Dreams.
- The presenters also provide opportunity for discussion
about each section to enrich the audience's
understanding of living with mental illness.
- A Take Home Kit is distributed to all attendees and
includes resources and an opportunity for program
- To meet the need for consumer-run education
- To set a standard for quality education about mental
illness from those who have been there
- To offer genuine work opportunities for consumers
- To encourage self-confidence and self-esteem in
- To focus on recovery and the message of hope
- Presenters are consumers who are ready for the next
step in their recovery and are willing to share their
story. They are selected from various sources including
NAMI consumer members, day program attendees, group home
residents, and referrals from doctors and providers.
- A trainer from NAMI's national office provides a
two-day training course for 12-16 consumer presenters.
- During the training, presenters will practice telling
their personal stories, develop facilitation skills,
develop story points that will be relevant and
meaningful to specific audiences, and develop a
professional presentation that they could take to their
- Consumers… in day programs, inpatient settings,
support groups, and other community settings who can
share, learn, and find hope for successful living.
- Family and friends… who may need further reassurance
of the possibility of recovery for their loved ones.
- Health care providers… who desire strengthened
communication with their clients and improved outcomes.
- Law enforcement officials… to increase awareness of
and sensitivity to behaviors triggered by mental
- Faith communities… to increase responsiveness to
people with mental illnesses who may first turn to their
spiritual community for guidance.
- Students… of various age levels, who wish to expand
their knowledge of living with mental illness.
- Any community or civic organization… who may be
interested in learning more about mental illnesses and
The In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness program
must be coordinated through the NAMI state or affiliate
organization. Contact your NAMI state office or local
affiliate about presentations in your area.
To inquire about having In Our Own Voice implemented in
your state, contact Lainie
DeMelle or Sara
Yankalunas or call NAMI at 703-524-7600.
-TO-FAMILY EDUCATION PROGRAM is a free 12-week course
for family caregivers of individuals with severe brain
disorders (mental illnesses). The course is taught by
trained family members. All instruction and course materials
are free for class participants.