In Our Own Voice



In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a NAMI program, developed nationally and sponsored round the state by NAMI New Jersey, designed to train individuals with various mental health conditions, to give presentations about their illness and recovery. The program is a powerful tool for community education and reducing stigma by putting a human face on an often misunderstood area of human suffering.

The program is intended to help reduce the discrimination often faced by people who deal with mental health illnesses and issues, those who care about them, and those who care for them. One or two program speakers go to a location, and present their first-hand lived experience, backed by other presenters appearing on a DVD. The live and taped presenters speak about their dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, and successes, hopes, and dreams. With questions and answers, which the presenters are trained to deal with, the program takes approximately one hour.

IOOV has been successful for NAMI NJ since it was first presented in the state in October, 2002. By the end of 2015, the team has made over 2,450 presentations, reaching nearly 63,000 people! Presentations have taken place in all twenty-one counties of the state. Audiences have included:

• mental health treatment programs (psychiatric hospitals/units and day treatment)
• mental health self-help groups
• social work and psychosocial rehabilitation conferences
• staff in general hospitals
• churches, temples, and clergy in-service trainings
• public employees in social services, housing, law enforcement, child welfare, corrections, and air traffic control
• high school and college classes (including psychology, nursing, education, and special education)
• college and high school clubs (including service clubs, psychology clubs, and the neuropsychiatry club at the NJ School of Osteopathic Medicine)
• in-service trainings for health and special educators
• community and service clubs
• disability awareness programs at private companies

Currently, a team of four coordinators and forty active presenters are available to make the free presentations day or night, at any location in the state. We encourage interested parties to contact Jill Zwick, Scheduling Coordinator, at 732-571-2136 or, to discuss scheduling an IOOV presentation. If you are interested in possibly volunteering to be a presenter, we encourage you to have a look at our “Presenter Candidate Information Handout.” You may also join in the “buzz” about NAMI NJ’s IOOV program on Facebook.



Program Contact:

Jay Yudof, Coordinator of In Our Own Voice and NAMI Connection
(609) 642-6959,

To schedule a presentation:
Jill Zwick, Scheduling Coordinator & Trainer
(732) 571-2136,



NAMI New Jersey In Our Own Voice 2015 Stars:

In 2015, NAMI New Jersey awarded In Our Own Voice Stars to two ladies who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their support of In Our Own Voice and NAMI Connection: Melody Dutch and Elena Kravitz.

NAMI New Jersey In Our Own Voice 2014 Stars:

The following IOOV Presenters have provided 100 or more presentations as of Summer 2014!

• Jill Zwick
• Akavar Dylutra
• Milo Turk
• Susan Ordway
• Victor DeSanti
• Donna Ellis
• Galen Valley
• Meredith Nuebeck
• Rick Yessian

2014 NAMI NJ IOOV Stars