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IOOV Newsletter

IOOV Quarterly Newsletter- Vol. 1, Issue 4

September 2008

Welcome to the IOOV Quarterly Newsletter.  This newsletter was designed to share stories, current events and updates that are happening with the IOOV program.  Please feel free to send any ideas/ submissions to Cynthia Evans.  Thanks and enjoy!

I.  Quote of the Month    

"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."              

                                                                       -Audre Lorde, Activist & Writer      

submitted by Jenna Miller, Connecticut                                                                     

II.  Feature Article:  Allison's Story

Allison’s life dramatically changed after she and her family moved while she was in high school.   She was not accepted in her new town, and she began to have erratic sleep patterns and suicidal thoughts.   Allison convinced herself that things would get better in college.  

By her third year at Auburn University, Allison had begun drinking heavily and using prescription and street drugs.  Due to her deteriorating health she was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital by her parents.  This event caused a severe disconnect in their relationship.  

As part of her treatment plan at the hospital, Allison was prescribed medication.  In a short period of time, she experienced a weight gain of 80 pounds.   Meanwhile, she did not feel immediate relief from the pain she was feeling.  Because of this, Allison stopped taking her medication altogether. 

Allison soon plunged into a manic episode.  On an impulse she moved to Miami, started an internship, and became engaged, all within the course of a few weeks.  She was arrested for shoplifting, and moved back home.  Upon arriving, she learned that her two best friends had overdosed on drugs.

After two further involuntary hospital commitments initiated by her parents and two more arrests, Allison was enrolled in a mandatory pre-trial diversion program that lasted 3 years.  It involved six months of rehab and two and a half years of the court program.  

Once Allison got through the long, difficult process of the rehab program and mending the broken relationship with her parents, she didn’t want to that think anything was wrong with her.  She didn’t want the label of mental illness and didn’t want to be open about it. 

Things began to change when her mother became involved with NAMI and attended its Family to Family class.  Allison remembers attending a NAMI Consumer Christmas party at the local chapter of NAMI with her mom.  At first, she just sat and watched everyone else, but then she noticed that she had a lot in common with the people there. In response, Allison began to educate herself about mental illness and, little by little, accepted it.   This was hard at first, as she was too sick to read for long periods of time.  To overcome this barrier, she listened to books on tape instead.  The more knowledge she gained, the healthier she became.    

Allison’s treatment plan initially involved going to rehab in the court program and having an encouraging psychiatrist.  During this time she tried a series of medications but quit taking a lot of them.  As time went on and she became more serious about her recovery, Allison began working hard with her psychiatrist to find the best medicine for her.  At first she didn’t feel that he listened or cared, so she became proactive by telling him how serious she was about becoming well.   Once he realized this, they started working together to make her recovery a reality. 

Allison had to learn a lot of coping skills to deal with all of the things going on in her life.     The books on tape really helped.  When she was feeling sick, the books would just play to her, and she didn’t need to exert any effort.  Melody Beattie and K. Jamison are authors who have truly been an inspiration to her. 

It really helps Allison to make a list of things that she needs to do every day, because it helps her to see what she’s accomplished.  Also, her parents have also been a great support system.  When Allison moved to Birmingham, Alabama three years ago to look for a job, her parents were encouraging and compassionate.  They often call to check in and visit her. 

For Allison, success means going out and sharing her recovery story.  She has been working for over 2 years now as a Peer Specialist and about 6 months as the IOOV Coordinator for Alabama, which are both great accomplishments. 

Another hurdle she has overcome is not sleeping all the time.  Sometimes it is extremely difficult to get up in the morning, but she knows that if she takes that first step out of bed to go to work, she has done something huge right there. 

Allison hopes to continue in her current job and focus on college outreach because that’s what really resonates with her.  In the future, Allison would like to go back to law school to become a Guardian Ad Litem, which is a lawyer that works with people who have been involuntary committed.

Written by Kerry Oliva

III.  Welcome Aboard!

We've had some changes in IOOV Coordinators in the past few months.  Please join me in welcoming the following people who have come on board:

Anthony Holscher- Arizona
Dion Shackleford- Washington, DC
Michael Stockdell- South Carolina
Michelle Fowler- Massachusetts
O'Neill Hernandez- New York
Ron Sarna- Oregon

IV.  Upcoming Events

2nd Annual IOOV Coordinator Training Conference

The IOOV Coordinator Training Conference is hosted by NAMI National and will take place September 12-14 in St. Louis, Missouri.  This conference is for IOOV state coordinators to network and learn about strategies for marketing, recruiting, fundraising, outreach, reporting, and much more!  This is a great opportunity for all of us to work together to make the program the best it can be.  We will also be introducing the new coordinator's manual.  State coordinators will filter the information back to their affiliates so that all coordinators are on the same page.  We're looking forward to a great conference!

V. Multicultural Excellence

Click to visit MAC (Multicultural Action Center)

IOOV projects in the works:

                En Nuestra Propia Voz (Spanish IOOV) - coming 2009!             

               *Spanish DVD complete!- available from NAMI National
               *Spanish presenter manual (final revisions)- TBA
               *Spanish program pilot in select areas/ states- TBA

click to read about En Nuestra Propia Voz in Spanish.

Resources on MAC: (click underlined resources to view)

·  ¡Avanzamos! (Spanish Newsletter)

·  African American booklet

·  Fact Sheets/ Additional Info

Ideal goal: enable trainers to teach presenters about incorporating multicultural aspects into their presentations

VI.  IOOV Journal

I Cry Alone

I cry alone.
If a woman cries in the middle of the night and no one hears,
Does her pain matter?

I go outside and try to find sympathy
But the dark is asleep.
Does it matter?
Do I matter?

I try to call out for help.
A warm touch.
Someone else’s heartbeat.
But there is none around.

I cry out to God.
He’s sleeping too.

Rest comes so easy for some.
Rest hides from me.

Words kill.
Words heal.

Touch kills.
Touch heals.

But tonight, there are no words.   
There is no touch.

For I cry alone.

submitted by Lisa Corbin, Tennessee


Suzanne Art 1

Suzanne Art 2

Suzanne Art 3

submitted by Suzanne Worrell, Texas

VIII.  ABCD Award- "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty"

Jill Zwick, New Jersey

Jill has been presenting IOOV since 2002, and has been an IOOV trainer since 2005.  In her time with the program she has completed over 100 presentations in the state of NJ.  Jill coordinates the IOOV program for most counties in NJ as a full time volunteer, in addition to presenting and training.  She has truly dedicated her life to bringing hope to others about mental illness.  She was recently honored with the "Distinguished Service Award" during the 2008 NAMI Convention in Orlando, Florida.  Sarah O'Brien had the privilege of training Jill to be a trainer in 2005 along with the national IOOV training team.  Sarah claims that "her gentle persistence is like strong water that will surely wear away the rock of stigma.    Don’t be fooled by the woman’s soft demeanor.  She is a formidable advocate!"  Thank you Jill for all you do!

What is IOOV?

History and Philosophy

Key Presentation Topics


Get Involved

Previous Newsletters

IOOV Quarterly Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 4
In this issue: Quote of the Month, Feature Article: Allison's Story, Welcome Aboard, Upcoming Events, Multicultural Excellence, IOOV Journal, and more!