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Shining the Spotlight on Mardell Hawkins


Like all Super Heroes Mardell has overcome adversity and has went on to make a difference in the lives of others. 

“NAMI saved my life,” is a phrase that Mardell Hawkins has said thousands of times, and each time, she means it.  Mardell had been diagnosed with PTSD, Severe Anxiety, Depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, and has a history of suicidal ideation. She was at a low point before discovering NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group in 2005. The support she received through NAMI was transformational for her. Inspired to help others, she became an In Our Own Voice Presenter, Connection Recovery Support Group Leader for three years, a State Trainer for the same program, a passionate advocate, and an instrumental part of CIT training in the Oklahoma City Metro Area.  She has been dedicated to advancing NAMI’s mission for 13 years.

Mardell is helping individuals with mental illness lead full lives by providing peer support and working in our communities to develop greater understanding of mental illness. Her zest for life and passion for helping others has helped her to connect with individuals of all ages and backgrounds in a powerful way that few can. She is a leader and a positive role model whose unwavering dedication to NAMI’s mission is admirable.

She has been a passionate leader and ambassador for NAMI Oklahoma for 13 years; sharing NAMI’s mission with everyone she meets! She encourages other people living with mental illness to take part in NAMI and spread our mission in their local areas. She is a courageous and inspiring IOOV presenter that actively seeks opportunities to bring awareness and share the message of hope and recovery throughout Oklahoma.

Mardell was a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group leader for three years and went become a state trainer. Has been sharing her story and has been part of the panel for CIT training approximately 20 times over the course of seven years. As one of NAMI Oklahoma’s most active In Our Own Voice presenter she has presented to 100 + groups over the years.

Additionally, she works at a local Behavioral Health center where the peer support she provides is helping those with mental health conditions and co-occurring disorders live fuller, healthier lives while reducing the incidence of recidivism.

We are so thankful for Mardell and the volunteer work that she does with NAMI to raise awareness and help individuals along their road to recovery! 

Would you like to help equip passionate volunteers like Mardell?


If so, donate to - your donation can help provide training for a new In Our Own Voice presenter or Connections Recovery Support Group facilitator.