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In Our Own Voice

One of the most difficult issues faced by people who are mentally ill is the stigma associated with their diseases. Stigma arises out of the public’s unawareness of the hope that new medicines and therapeutic practices provide.

To inform a wider audience of all this, NAMI Mid-Carolina provides In Our Own Voice (IOOV), a program in which persons with a history of mental illness tell their stories to varied audiences.

The presentation begins with the dark days when the person first became aware of his or her illness, progressing through acceptance of the illness. It then proceeds to the treatments and therapies he or she underwent and the coping strategies the person developed along the way. It concludes with triumphs, hopes, and dreams. An IOOV presentation offers its audience an understanding, not just of the diseases themselves, but also of the nature of the people who possess the diseases. Coupled with a message of hope, the presentation can help minimize or eliminate stigma.

If you would like more information on our In Our Own Voice program or would like to be a part of a group, please contact the NAMI office at 206-2916.

What is In Our Own Voice:

  • A presentation by consumers that creates awareness about what is involved in recovery from mental illness.
  • A powerful anti-stigma tool to change hearts, minds, and attitudes about mental illness.
  • An opportunity for consumers to gain self-confidence, self-esteem, and income while serving as role models for the community.
  • Living proof that recovery from mental illness is an ongoing reality.

The Presentation:

  • Hear from people who have struggled with disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other severe mental illnesses.

  • A brief video features consumers speaking about the topics of Dark Days, Acceptance, Treatment, Coping Skills, and Successes, Hopes, and Dreams.
  • Gain insight into how people with serious mental illnesses cope with the realities of their disorders while reclaiming productive lives.
  • Ask questions from the real experts -- the consumers are the ones who "have been there."
  • A Take Home Folder is distributed to all attendees, which includes resources and an opportunity for program evaluation.

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.

If you would like more information on our In Our Own Voice program or would like to be a part of a group, please contact the NAMI office at 206-2916.

You may also be interested in the SPEAK and Be Heard… Living With Depression campaign, made possible by AstraZeneca in partnership with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). It is designed to inspire hope and show the importance of seeking help and developing an appropriate treatment plan with a health care provider in an effort to successfully manage the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. And the essay winners have now been announced. Take a moment to read their stories by clicking on the titles below:

Linea J., Seattle, WA, “Finding Dry Land”

Lisa W., Bradenton, FL, “Teacher Talk”

April T., Albany, GA, “Salvaged”

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