About NAMI

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.

What is NAMI Ending the Silence?

  • A 50-minute mental health presentation for middle and high school aged youth.
  • Available free to students.
  • Presented by a trained group consisting of:
    • A young adult living with a mental health challenge.
    • An adult living in recovery with mental illness or family member of an individual living with mental illness.
  • Offered in health, science or psychology classes, youth groups, clubs and after-school programs.
  • Helps youth learn early warning signs of mental illness and are provided with resources and tools to help themselves, friends or family members who may be in need of support.
  • Contact with an individual living with mental illness dispels myths, instills a message of hope and recovery and encourages students to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
  • NAMI Ending the Silence program does not recommend or endorse any medications or other medical therapies.
  • NAMI Ending the Silence program material is copyrighted.

What are the NAMI Ending the Silence stats as of now?

  • NAMI Ending the Silence was developed in 2007 by Brenda & Brian Hilligoss with NAMI DuPage County Illinois.
  • IN 2013 NAMI DuPage County generously gifted the program to NAMI for oversight and technical assistance.
  • Available in 21 states*.
  • Over 32,000 annual participants*.

* as of December 2014

What are people saying about NAMI Ending the Silence?

  • ”It is amazing what just one day, one talk can do. You never really know what’s going on in the brain of any particular student.”
  • “I’m really grateful and glad that you talked to us. I often feel very alone or weird because many kids my age don’t understand. But, now I’m sure they would be more supportive of me.”
  • “I’m grateful for your presentation because it helped me get the courage to face a mental illness I think I might have and I feel encouraged to seek help.”
  • “NAMI Ending the Silence succeeds where so many other forms of outreach fail because of the genuine validity of our experience. Unlike many health teachers who work out of a book and have no personal context to draw on, we have the lived expertise acquired through years of struggle. We understand the hurt and anguish like no other and have earned the authority to portray hope as more than a concept.

How do people learn about NAMI Ending the Silence?

NAMI Ending the Silence presenters are also trained to provide community outreach and marketing for the program. In addition to traditional methods of outreach, such as flyers and brochures, NAMI Ending the Silence is promoted electronically via newsletters, websites and social media maintained by NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates.

As with other NAMI education and support programs, NAMI Ending the Silence offers a vital community resource while also raising public awareness of NAMI generally and introduces NAMI to audiences who do not already know about us.

Class Documents

What’s next?