Schizophrenia Resources


  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 the community.
  • Living proof that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and that recovery is an ongoing reality.

The Presentation:

  • 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 evaluation.

Program Goals:

  • To meet the need for consumer-run education initiatives
  • 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 presenters
  • To focus on recovery and the message of hope

Presenter Training:

  • 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 communities.


The Audience:

  • 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 illness.
  • 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 recovery.

Further Information:

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.

  FAMILY -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.



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