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 Southwest Missouri 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. "When I became severely mentally ill, my family could not handle it. I lost my wife and children," said Robert Qualls, a presenter from Southwest Missouri. "But after becoming involved in NAMI and In Our Own Voice, I found myself. I got my life back."
"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.