In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique public education program developed by NAMI in which two trained speakers share their compelling personal stories of living with mental illness and achieving recovery. The presentation is free and lasts about 90 minutes.

NAMI-DAC is pleased to have trained presenters for NAMI’s In Our Own Voice program. If your church, business group, or other group would like an In Our Own Voice presentation, please contact us.

What You’ll Gain

In Our Own Voice adds a critical perspective to the popular understanding of what people with mental illness are like. Going to this presentation will provide you:

A first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. Presenters humanize this misunderstood topic by demonstrating that it’s possible—and common—to live well with mental illness.

A chance to ask the presenters questions, which provides a deeper understanding of mental health conditions and dispels stereotypes and misconceptions.

The understanding that every person with a mental illness can hope for a bright future.

What People are Saying

Amazing presentation with amazing presenters! You 100% erased any stigma I used to associate with mental illness.

Several of the mental health staff stated that they saw recovery as a real option—for the first time ever.

Participating in the IOOV program is the single most effective thing I am doing to maintain my mental health. Time after time I see the audience respond with curiosity and interest. I know I am changing the face of mental illness and that I have transformed my pain into the power to make a difference.

What are the benefits?

While audiences benefit from the inspirational stories of the speakers, In Our Own Voice also helps the presenters. Presenters commonly experience increased confidence, the joy of helping to inspire and motivate. In addition, they develop valuable leadership skills.

Speaking about my mental illness gave me back my self esteem and enabled me to overcome my shame and guilt and realize I am not a bad or weak person; that I have an illness ‐ a brain disorder ‐ it is not my fault.    ‐ An IOOV Presenter & Trainer

Throughout the In Our Own Voice presentation, audience members are encouraged to offer feedback and ask questions. The more audience members learn, the more they understand the realities of mental illness and recovery.

IOOV is helpful for people to understand how REAL and how DISABLING the symptoms are. So many people see consumers as manipulative or lazy.
‐ An IOOV Audience Member

How did In Our Own Voice start?

In IOOV was started with a grant from Eli Lilly and Company and is active in 40 states. IIOV presenters make more than 2,000 presentations a year and reach more than 45,000 audience members. Since 1996, more than 270,000 people have seen In Our Own Voice presentations nationwide. Audiences range from consumer groups, students and law enforcement officials to faith community members, politicians and civic groups. All presentations are offered free of charge.