In Our Own Voice

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) works to end stigma around mental health through support, education, and advocacy in our community.

One NAMI program that promotes conversation and awareness on this topic is called In Our Own Voice, in which people with lived experience talk openly about what it’s like to live with a mental health condition through public presentations.

At NAMI Finger Lakes, we are growing the In Our Own Voice program to increase awareness and normalize discussions around mental health. We provide training using a NAMI signature program model for people with lived experience who wish to become presenters and help others through sharing their story.

NAMI-FL coordinates all presentations, which range in length, depending upon how many presenters participate. We can also facilitate virtual or in-person presentations depending upon the comfort level of the presenters and current COVID-19 status or other restrictions.

Some Benefits of In Our Own Voice:

For the presenter:

—Build confidence and pride in one’s experience and achievements

—Promote continued recovery

—Gain volunteer hours to use toward other certifications

—Enhance public speaking and storytelling skills

—Build a resume of appearances and references

—Change attitudes and assumptions about people with mental health conditions

—Know that you’re changing lives through sharing your experience

For the community:

—Increased program offerings to participants of recovery and wellness programs (as attendees or presenters)

—Increased program offerings to participants of work empowerment programs (as attendees or presenters)

—Public education events about living with mental health conditions

—An end to stigma around mental health conversations and care

—An introduction to free NAMI mental health support and education

If you know or are an adult with lived experience who would like to learn more or become an In Our Own Voice presenter, please email

Click here for more information about In Our Own Voice.

—By Beth McGee

Beth McGee is the executive director of NAMI Finger Lakes