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Review for NAMI Greater Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My parents first learned about NAMI Greater Seattle in 2004 when I was diagnosed with a mental illness. They took a class that NAMI offers called Family-to-Family for family members of people living with a mental illness. Through taking the class, they learned many things which helped them understand what I was going through and helped them care for me effectively. I am thankful that NAMI Greater Seattle was there for my parents during that tough time because my mental illness was initially something that was completely foreign to us. Family-to-Family helped to educate my parents on how best to approach living with and caring for me.

In 2009, I started volunteering at the NAMI Greater Seattle office. One of NAMI Greater Seattle's services is giving information and referrals to people who call the phone line. I learned how to answer the phone line as best as I could and how to help people find the right information. Often people call who are looking for a support group or for resources for themselves or their loved ones. I am one of many volunteers at NAMI Greater Seattle who answers the phone line and I think we all find satisfaction in assisting people with their queries. We realize how important it is for people to get connected with the right information or resources.

Since the summer of 2011, I have been involved with NAMI in another capacity. In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a program that NAMI offers which teaches individuals with mental illnesses how to tell their own personal story of having a mental illness and living in recovery. The program then puts those individuals in pairs and places them in front of various audiences in order to educate the audience about mental illnesses and to help reduce stigma. I took the training last summer and since I have presented about 20 times to mostly high school and university audiences. I have also presented for Family-to-Family classes. It has been a great experience for me personally because in telling my story and putting everything out there I feel empowered. I now feel less shame about having mental illness than I did before I began the IOOV program. And in talking to various audiences about my condition, I often help shed light on something that for many of those in the audiences, they had never encountered before. As their awareness of mental illnesses increases, so does their empathy and understanding for people who have mental illnesses. And maybe someday one of their friends or family members will be diagnosed with a mental illness. I think the IOOV program does wonders for both the presenters and the audience.

To sum up, my experience with NAMI Greater Seattle has been all positive. NAMI Greater Seattle does great things for the community and I have seen firsthand the positive effects that its services and programs can provide. Thank you NAMI Greater Seattle.

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Role:  Volunteer