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NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action

What is NISA?

Northern Initiative for Social Action, or NISA, is here for you to learn how take care of your mental health and live a life that is meaningful to you. We develop occupational skills, nurture self-confidence and provide resources for recovery by creating opportunities for our participants to contribute to their own well-being and that of their community.

Staff, volunteers and members are people with lived experience of mental health challenges / mental illness. We call ourselves ‘peers’. We are a member-driven organization, and we aim to offer meaningful and useful programs. We believe in active recovery rather than passive dependence on community services.


Many of us have faced stigma and discrimination because of our mental health history. Our involvement at NISA allows us to free ourselves from stigma, and become a person, first and foremost. We believe that as peers we have unique skills and perspectives to help others in their own recovery journeys, and we will support you as you rediscover your strengths. If you are ready to help yourself—and help others, too—then NISA may be the right place for you.

Being, belonging, becoming, for all mental health consumers.

NISA’s original members came together in 1997 to create a space where people with lived experience of mental illness could rediscover their skills and talents while participating meaningfully in the greater community. And research has shown our model works. Why? We focus on Being, Belonging and Becoming.

Being: NISA encourages rediscovery of self. For recovery, consumers need to define themselves as an unqualified “person” versus “a person with a psychiatric disability”. We have a right to exist, a right to be who we are, and a right to receive support for our basic living needs.
Belonging: NISA is a place to go, a place to gather, a place to belong, no matter you’re standing elsewhere..
Becoming: NISA offers skill development, helps members recognize their ability to work and identify prospects of economic viability. NISA knows people need to be active and to contribute to the community for personal fulfillment.