NAMI Sacramento, Sacramento's Voice on Mental Illness

In Our Own Voice:
Living with Mental Illness

Who is this program for?

In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique education program that offers insight into the recovery that is now possible for people with severe mental illness.  Target audiences include:

  • people with mental illnesses and their families
  • mental health service providers
  • educators, students
  • law enforcement personnel
  • mental health professionals
  • faith communities
  • all people wanting to learn about mental illness

As of last year, the program was active in 37 states and over 100,000 audience members had been reached. 

Who designed the program?

NAMI National produced this program with a grant from Eli Lilly and Company to encourage mental health consumers to become actively involved in education about severe mental illnesses. It was introduced in 1996 and has evolved since then into the current program.  

Who are the presenters?

Two trained presenters give personal testimony about their own journeys with mental illness. IOOV is dedicated to the support, education, and growth of consumers as presenters. The program dispels many myths surrounding mental illnesses and helps reduce stigma as we openly talk about it.

Presentation content

IOOV shows how people with serious mental illnesses cope with the realities of their disorders while recovering and reclaiming productive lives with meaning and dignity. The program provides a safe way for people to share the ups and downs of their recovery and learn from others.  IOOV is often a transformative experience for presenters, who are empowered by giving voice to their struggles and successes. 

See the list of the key program topics at right.

For more detail about this program, visit NAMI National's web site.

Become a speaker or request a presentation

If you would like to train as a presenter or if you would like to have an In Our Own Voice presentation for your organization, contact Doug Smith by email at or call NAMI Sacramento Office at (916) 364-1642.


Become a Speaker or Request a Presentation

To receive training to become an IOOV speaker or to request a presentation, contact Doug Smith by email at or call the NAMI Sacramento Office at (916) 364-1642.

Key Program Topics

Dark Days - Recovery from a serious mental illness can be a long, difficult journey.  During this section of the presentation, speakers explore feelings and experiences that occurred during the darkest moments of living with a mental illness. 

Acceptance - Learning to accept the reality of having a serious mental illness is quite a challenge.  It can be hard for anyone to come to terms with having a serious illness of any kind.  Acceptance is essential to beginning recovery.  During this section, presenters share their experience of acceptance and explain how it was achieved.

Treatment - There are many methods for treating mental illness.  Every person is different, and this is the reason that there are many ways to walk down the path to recovery.  During this section, presenters explain what treatment plan worked for them. 

Coping Strategies - Wellness can be achieved by following a treatment plan and using coping skills.  Some common coping skills include: making time for leisure activities and rest, exercising, spiritual activities, developing healthy friendships, getting involved with community charities, and finding ways to keep a sense of self awareness and acceptance.  During this section, presenters share their own coping skills.

Successes, Hopes and Dreams - Our presenters have a variety of skills and ambitions.  A key component of recovery is setting goals while pursuing personal dreams.  Many consumers incorporate what they've learned from their illness into activities and plans for their future.  During this section, presenters share their own successes, hopes, and dreams.

NAMI Sacramento cannot be held responsible for the use of the information we provide.
Please always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision
regarding treatment of yourself or others.