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The Power of Personal Stories

By Kate Vogtle, NAMI Communications Coordinator

When NAMI first began its You Are Not Alone (YANA) campaign, it was with the hope that people living with mental illness, their family members and friends would be able to share their stories and receive support. Now, these efforts are being recognized by the entire public relations community. Below is a press release that NAMI released after hearing about this recognition:

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 5, 2013—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has won national recognition for its "You Are Not Alone" public education campaign.

PR News has named the campaign as a finalist for its annual "Platinum Awards," which cover 40 public relations categories. The NAMI campaign is considered one of the "best of the best" in communications strategies that will have large cultural impact and be referred to in years to come.

The NAMI initiative is being honored in the "On a Shoe-String Campaign" category in which organizations have achieved outstanding creative success by "doing more with less" within a limited public relations budget.

"The Platinum Awards serve annually as a celebration of the year's top PR teams and as an ideal showcase for successful campaigns," said Steve Goldstein, editorial director of PR News. "There were so many terrific entries this year and once again we were reminded that creativity and inspiration rule in communications."

"We are immensely proud of the 'You Are Not Alone' campaign," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Many health advocacy organizations operate on budgets 10 or more times the size of ours. NAMI takes pride in achieving high standards of effectiveness with more bang for the buck."

PR News is the nation's leading resource for PR professionals, promoting best-practices through publications, webinars and conferences

NAMI's "You are Not Alone" campaign utilized Web publishing and social media to solicit and promote first-hand written and video testimony from individuals and families affected by mental illness—to fight stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public.

"I hope one day we can openly talk about mental health without fear," declared one person who posted a story on NAMI's "You Are Not Alone" website on Sept. 3, 2013.

The campaign also featured biographies of notable historical figures that lived with mental illness, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Audie Murphy, Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, Syd Barrett, Mike Wallace and Nina Simone.

Nine finalists are in the "On a Shoestring" category. The final selection will be announced on Oct. 15.

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