PO Box 2556, Las Cruces, NM 88004
(575) 448-2774


Public policy makes a difference in the lives of both the people living with mental health conditions and the people in their lives. Changes in policy can mean better outcomes. NAMI-DAC advocates for system reform at state and local levels. These are some of our goals.

  • Securing better housing for people with mental health conditions.
  • Helping people with mental health conditions who have recently been released from detention or prison.
  • Improving availability and access to better health care in southern New Mexico and Dona Ana County.
  • Improving mental health education among first responders, law enforcement, and hospital emergency personnel

NAMI-SNM Speaker Services

NAMI Southern New Mexico can provide your organization with a speaker who is knowledgeable about mental health issues or specific mental disorders. If you’re group is considering a service project or a fundraiser or simply wants to know more about mental illness, please contact us.

Why should your organization learn more about Mental Illness?

NAMI On Campus

Because Mental Health Matters. College is an exciting time. From being away from home and finding independence to meeting new people and trying new things, every day brings new experiences. There is also a new level of academic responsibility. Classes are harder and there is always, a due date on the horizon. Balancing all of the changes that happen in college can be stressful and challenging.

Those challenges are even more difficult for the 1 in 5 students who also face a mental health condition. Nearly three-quarters of mental health conditions emerge by age 24, so many college students are facing mental health concerns for the first time, and may not know where to go for support.

NAMI knows that some of the best support a student can receive is from peers. When students connect with one another, they can share common experiences and support each other through the transitions. NAMI on Campus helps make those connections happen.

NAMI on Campus clubs work to end the stigma that makes it hard for students to talk about mental health and get the help they need. Clubs hold creative meetings, hold innovative awareness events, and offer signature NAMI programs through partnerships with NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates across the nation.

Why NAMI on Campus?

NAMI on Campus clubs are student-led, student-run mental health organizations on college campuses. NAMI on Campus clubs:

  • Raise mental health awareness with fairs, walks and candlelit vigils.
  • Educate the campus with presentations, guest speakers and student panels.
  • Advocate for improved mental health services and policies on campus.
  • Support peers with signature NAMI programs and training from NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates.

As a member of a NAMI on Campus club, you will belong to the largest grassroots mental health organization in America. Club leaders have access to the staff, resources, opportunities and support that comes with being part of this national movement, including opportunities beyond your college years.

In Our Own Voice (IOOV)

In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is a unique public education program developed by NAMI in which two trained speakers share their compelling personal stories of living with mental illness and achieving recovery. The presentation is free and lasts about 90 minutes.

NAMI-DAC is pleased to have trained presenters for NAMI’s In Our Own Voice program. If your church, business group, or other group would like an In Our Own Voice presentation, please contact us.

What You’ll Gain

In Our Own Voice adds a critical perspective to the popular understanding of what people with mental illness are like. Going to this presentation will provide you:

A first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. Presenters humanize this misunderstood topic by demonstrating that it’s possible—and common—to live well with mental illness.

A chance to ask the presenters questions, which provides a deeper understanding of mental health conditions and dispels stereotypes and misconceptions.

The understanding that every person with a mental illness can hope for a bright future.

What People are Saying

Amazing presentation with amazing presenters! You 100% erased any stigma I used to associate with mental illness.

Several of the mental health staff stated that they saw recovery as a real option—for the first time ever.

Participating in the IOOV program is the single most effective thing I am doing to maintain my mental health. Time after time I see the audience respond with curiosity and interest. I know I am changing the face of mental illness and that I have transformed my pain into the power to make a difference.

What are the benefits?

While audiences benefit from the inspirational stories of the speakers, In Our Own Voice also helps the presenters. Presenters commonly experience increased confidence, the joy of helping to inspire and motivate. In addition, they develop valuable leadership skills.

Speaking about my mental illness gave me back my self esteem and enabled me to overcome my shame and guilt and realize I am not a bad or weak person; that I have an illness ‐ a brain disorder ‐ it is not my fault.    ‐ An IOOV Presenter & Trainer

Throughout the In Our Own Voice presentation, audience members are encouraged to offer feedback and ask questions. The more audience members learn, the more they understand the realities of mental illness and recovery.

IOOV is helpful for people to understand how REAL and how DISABLING the symptoms are. So many people see consumers as manipulative or lazy.
‐ An IOOV Audience Member

How did In Our Own Voice start?

In IOOV was started with a grant from Eli Lilly and Company and is active in 40 states. IIOV presenters make more than 2,000 presentations a year and reach more than 45,000 audience members. Since 1996, more than 270,000 people have seen In Our Own Voice presentations nationwide. Audiences range from consumer groups, students and law enforcement officials to faith community members, politicians and civic groups. All presentations are offered free of charge.


NAMI FaithNet as an interfaith resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to encourage faith communities to be welcoming and supportive of persons and families living with mental health conditions.

NAMI FaithNet will strive to encourage welcoming, caring congregations as well as to promote the vital role of spirituality in the recovery journeys of many who live with mental health conditions and for whom faith is a key component.

NAMI-DAC is currently establishing a chapter of the NAMI FaithNet initiative. Please join with us to work on this critical program to improve mental health care and services in Dona Ana County.

As part of our mission to educate, advocate, and listen to the needs of our community in regards to Mental Health, NAMI-DAC has partnered with the Dona Ana County Health and Human Services Department, the New Mexico Association of Counties, as well as local law enforcement agencies and mental health care providers to address gaps in services and resources available to those living with mental health conditions. These are the people who too often end up in our criminal justice system.

We want to prevent these negative outcomes. We have identified several areas where we can improve our health care and justice systems, and ways our community can expand its support to a population that is often neglected. NAMI-DAC’s goal is for FaithNet to listen to the ideas of local faith communities, integrate them into a larger strategic plan, and then coordinate and implement their ideas into their respective faith communities.

These ideas have been already identified:

  • Provide information for resources lessen the need for 911 calls by finding better ways to help people with mental health conditions who are in crisis.
  • Establish volunteer service programs in faith communities, geared toward providing structure and jobs to persons with mental health conditions who are re-entering the community.
  • Provide education programs to reduce stigma regarding mental health conditions and open the discussion of mental health within faith communities. The goal is to help persons with mental health conditions to re-enter their chosen faith community. In addition, we also want to help people in faith communities who are affected by mental health conditions. This includes family members and friends of someone with a mental health condition, as well as people living with their own mental health condition.


For many people who are LGBTQ and living with a mental health condition, finding support and resources that are specific and inclusive can be difficult. Currently, NAMI-DAC is establishing a pilot program for a national initiative currently titled NAMI Rainbow. In Dona Ana County we are focused on addressing the intersection of mental health and issues specific to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community.

Numerous studies have shown that LGBTQ individuals living with a mental health condition are significantly impacted, compared to their heterosexual counterparts. This unique intersection is not limited to compounded societal and interpersonal stigma and challenges that is connected with being LGBTQ.

LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse. In New Mexico, 32% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth have attempted suicide – a higher rate than of heterosexual youth (8%). Additionally, between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation. Recent national studies also found that sexual minorities had between 1.6 and 3.9 times greater risk of probable PTSD than heterosexuals.

The history of mental health treatment of LGBTQ people is an uneasy one. In a time where homosexuality is no longer understood to be a mental illness, there is still significant room for progress. Everyday LGBTQ people continue to deal with challenges of stigma and bias based on their sexual orientation or gender identity while at the same time also dealing with the societal bias against mental health conditions.

These challenges make it difficult for some LGBTQ people to disclose that they are LGBTQ for fear of being harassed or ridiculed by mental health providers. Many LGBTQ people also go as far as not disclosing mental health conditions to their LGBTQ friends.

As part of our mission to educate, advocate, and listen to the needs of our community in regards to Mental Health, NAMI-DAC is partnering with LGBTQ individuals and advocacy groups to ensure that NAMI is inclusive in its work and to address gaps in services and resources available to those living with mental health conditions, as well as connecting people to an LGBTQ friendly support network and local community resources.