National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Cincinnati, OH - The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has presented one of three annual In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness awards to NAMI Western Riverside County for successfully and creatively implementing a national program that significantly involves people with mental illnesses (consumers) within the organization, training them to deliver messages of hope and recovery to public audiences.
In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness is unique in that it relies on consumers to project the real face of mental illness, eliminate stereotypes stigma, and provides public education about brain disorders. In turn, participation in the program helps reintegrate consumers into the community and supports recovery through public action. "It is an educational presentation, providing its audience with insight into the realities of mental illness," said David Neff, a NAMI Western Riverside presenter. "The benefit of the program does not lay solely with the audience. After giving a presentation to a group who many times have little knowledge of mental illness, I often find myself lifted up by feelings of accomplishment and self-worth."
"In Our Own Voice" also is a model for promotion of NAMI messages and missions as part of its broader "Campaign for the Mind of America" being launched this week at its 23rd convention in Cincinnati. Others convention honorees include Akiva Goldsman, who won an Oscar earlier this year for writing the screenplay of A Beautiful Mind and Michael Hogan, Chairman of President Bush's newly-appointed New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.