The Value of Shared Lived Experience – NAMI-NYC

The Value of Shared Lived Experience

Oliver started volunteering with us during the pandemic. His eagerness to help left a huge impression on participants and facilitators; they raved about him. Oliver would go the extra mile while hosting. He would share relevant information and check in on participants during the support groups he hosted. He even took on a data entry role. Oliver and other volunteers helped input attendee data for over 30 support groups in NAMI-NYC’s new software program. “I really believe in NAMI-NYC’s mission, and the data is part of keeping these critical programs going.”

Oliver is from a rural town in Texas. “Mental illness didn’t really exist as a term, and if it did come up, it was dismissed,” he explained. NAMI-NYC, on the other hand, prides itself on open conversations around mental health and community. “If I’m struggling through anxiety or depression, there’s no clean start and end date. If a friend checks in with me two weeks later and I’m still struggling, they may not understand. In a NAMI-NYC group, it’s a resounding ‘I totally get that. I’m right there with you.’ That sense of shared experience makes NAMI-NYC so special.”

Our emphasis on lived experiences combined with incredible volunteers like Oliver is the reason we can reach over 23,000 New Yorkers each year. Thank you, Oliver, and thank you to our volunteers! 

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