NAMI Sharing Your Story with Law Enforcement (SYSLE) is a presentation program that prepares individuals and family members to share their stories of lived experience with mental illness to a law enforcement audience, such as during Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, or other events where mental illness and related topics are featured.

SYSLE Presenters provide an opportunity for officers to hear about someone who experienced being in crisis and may have interacted with law enforcement as a result, but is now living well with mental illness. The powerful and unique stories shared by NAMI presenters help increase officers’ understanding and empathy, improving crisis response in communities. These presentations are consistently popular with officers who attend CIT training and NAMI’s goal is to ensure that every law enforcement officer has this opportunity.

Preparing NAMI Members To Present To Law Enforcement Audiences

NAMI developed Sharing Your Story with Law Enforcement as a presentation program that provides participants with:

  • An opportunity to understand the ways they can share their experience as a peer or family member affected by mental illness with law enforcement.
  • Tools to describe the barriers they or their family member faced in accessing treatment, help and services.
  • Tips on the best ways to share interactions they or their family member had with law enforcement.
  • Ways to effectively speak to – and answer questions from – a law enforcement audience.

The program format is simple, user friendly and easy to access. SYSLE consists of a two-part blended training: a self-paced course that guides participants through the process of writing a presentation, followed by a coaching session where they will practice, get tips and finalize their presentation.

After completing this training, peers and family members say they feel more prepared to present their lived experience.

“This was an amazing experience and has contributed to me feeling like I am a skilled presenter and am able to make a contribution to better my community.” 

-NAMI SYSLE Presenter, New Mexico

NAMI’s involvement in CIT training reaches back to the earliest days of CIT in Memphis Tennessee. NAMI provided grant funding for the first CIT program and after more than 30 years remains a partner as CIT has expanded in communities across the nation and worldwide.

Woman speaking to law enforcement audience

From collaboration on development to NAMI members presenting their stories, the effort to improve crisis response has always been an important part of NAMI’s mission. Our members have led the way with important and meaningful stories that increase understanding and have a direct impact on this goal.

NAMI has always advocated for safer, more compassionate and focused ways to connect people to care. Sharing Your Story with Law Enforcement continues this tradition by supporting NAMI leaders as they share these stories and help create positive change in communities across the nation.

Learn More And Schedule A NAMI Sharing Your Story With Law Enforcement Presentation

If you would like to schedule a SYSLE presentation for your agency, program or event, contact your local NAMI Affiliate. If the presentation isn’t already available, ask to bring it to your community.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).