NAMI Nebraska Family to Family

In Our Own Voice

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In Our Own Voice was established in 1996 as a program for Living with Schizophrenia. Later, more people with different illnesses participated, and its name changed to In Our Own Voice. The In Our Own Voice philosophy is to devote to support, growth and education of consumers as the presenters. In most cases trained consumer presenters/speakers share personal stories and experiences on living with a mental disorder and how to achieve successful recovery. The In Our Own Voice goals are to meet the consumer needs, set standards for excellent education on mental illness from those with real experiences, offer genuine and realistic work/employment opportunities, encourage self-esteem and self-confidence in presenters, and give hope and focus on recovery.

Audiences profit from this presentation since it sheds light on personal recovery experiences. Audience members get the firsthand information on severe mental disorder/illness and how recovery program/process works. The presenters are trained and given support. Presentations help to raise self esteem and confidence, and presenters might find out new and unique coping strategies from each other. They are also given hope by joining a group of peers. There exist many ways in which consumers grow as In Our Own Voice presenters.

Recovery is an ongoing growth process, and mainly is about achieving recovery and staying in recovery with mental illness. Recovery refers to the point where individual’s illness is no longer the main focus nor is the first and center most part of his/her life and appreciate other sides of life essentially; recovery is all about making an effort and attitude.

The educational components and personal aspect of the program dismiss several myths surrounding the mentally related illness. Research has shown a significant decline in stigma against people with mental illness amongst the audience after seeing presentations. In Our Own Voice presentations are availed to consumer groups, families of individuals’ diagnosed mental illness, educators, students, mental health specialists, judicial system personnel, law enforcement officers, professionals, faith community, inmates, politicians and interested groups.

During the In Our Own Voice presentations, audience members are usually encouraged to ask questions, express their thoughts give feedback. Audience participation is a vital component of In Our Own Voice because many audience members get involved, and  the more the closer get, the more they understand what it takes to live mental illness and staying in recovery. In Our Own Voice presentation has the following sections introduction, dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, successes, hopes, and (aspirations) dreams. Presentations may include brief video and in the end audience are given informative folders about mental iilness and regaining productive lives.

In Our Own Voice is an avenue for those who have with mental illness to achieve confidence and share their personal experiences of recovery and transformation. Organizations and groups interested in having a presentation held in their region may request for one to be given in their regions through their local affiliate or state.

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