About NAMI Spokane
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Since its inception in 1979 NAMI has become “The Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness” with offices in every state and local affiliates in more than 1100 communities across the country.
Through the dedicated efforts of grassroots leaders, NAMI focuses on three cornerstones of activity that offer hope and health: Education, Support and Advocacy. NAMI Spokane, a non-profit 501(c)(3), all volunteer, self-help organization was incorporated in 1980, with an office in the Peyton Building, and has since provided help to thousands of individuals and hundreds of families through its education programs, support groups, advocacy network and information/referral desk. All of our education courses, support groups and advocacy forums are free to the public and draw participants from Spokane County, eastern Washington and western Idaho.
We are funded through membership dues, donations and small foundation grants. All our courses and support groups are Peer Supported locally: Teachers, Mentors and Facilitators are family members and individuals in recovery who have been trained in NAMI Program Policy and Procedure. Our Mental Health Advocacy endeavors are aided by NAMI Action Centers and the NAMI Washington Public Policy Committee. We are recognized as the voice of reason on mental illness, always promoting public policy changes that raise the bar on treatment delivery and research. We provide a voice for those affected by mental illness and strive to end discrimination, overcome stigma and achieve services that improve lives. Mission Statement NAMI Spokane is dedicated to the eradication of mental illnesses and to the improvement of quality of life for all of those who have been affected by mental illness.
Our Areas of Focus:
1) Public Education and Information Activities
2) Family and Peer Education and Support Activities
3) Advocacy on behalf of people living with mental illness and for the health of our
4) Visible community events that raise funds and awareness while engaging the public
NAMI Spokane Staff
Laree Shanda has lived and worked in Spokane since 1980, serving in leadership positions for several non-profit and social service organizations. She attended Eastern Washington University studying Recreation Therapy and later pursued her Masters’ in Technical Communication (Information Design) as applied to the healthcare industry. She worked almost 7 years in Forensic Services at Eastern State Hospital, primarily serving people acquitted “Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity” (NGRI). Shanda is acutely aware of the stigma faced by people with mental illness and is committed to broadening society’s understanding of their many gifts and talents that are over-shadowed by symptoms and society’s misconceptions. She is a staunch advocate of protecting the rights and dignity of people who live with mental illness and supporting their family and friends. Shanda enjoys her family (especially being a Grandmom), saving old houses, geocaching, barbecuing, and entertaining.
NAMI Spokane Board Members
Interim President of the Board of Directors
Hadley was born and raised in Spokane, and attended St. George’s School. She then went onto University of Denver to earn a BA in International Studies with a focus on Security and Conflict Resolution, with a minor in a Religious Studies. As part of her studies, she spent a semester in Rwanda studying abroad and writing a thesis on post-genocide peace building and reconciliation. This experience sparked her interested in exploring intersections between community and trauma. She eventually returned home to Spokane and began working for Better Health Together, where she convenes community partners in various health and services fields to collaborate on projects that will improve the health of our community. It was through this work that she was introduced to NAMI. Being a person with mental illness herself, she was eager to get involved with the organization and joined the Board in June of 2018. Outside of work you’ll usually find Hadley out and about with her blue heeler Smokey, or at home gardening with her partner Nick.
TreasurerJessica came to the Spokane area in 2011, as a first-generation college student, and proud child of immigrants. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology and research focus surrounding Chicana Feminist perspectives. Currently wrapping up her Master’s degree, Jessica began volunteering with NAMI, in hopes of working for a non-profit organization that serves the community while combating mental health stigma. Jessica is honored to be a part of the board, as she learns to navigate her own mental illnesses. She enjoys going on bike rides, nature walks, and spending quality time with her little one and life partner!
DirectorAfter moving to Spokane in 1971, Gretchen taught in Spokane School District for three years before returning to college at EWU and Gonzaga to earn her graduate degree in psychology. She worked as a school counselor until her retirement in 2005. She and her husband have two adult sons; the younger one was diagnosed with bi-polar, OCD, and anxiety disorders in his mid-twenties. Since then the family has been actively involved in learning about mental illness and the effectiveness of available treatments. Her first experience with NAMI Spokane occurred a couple of years ago when she enrolled in the Family to Family classes. She also participates in a monthly NAMI family support group. Gretchen joined the Board in 2017 and represents NAMI Spokane on the Spokane Police Mental Health Steering Committee. In addition to membership in the League of Women Voters and Spokane College Women, political activities, such as advocating for legislation and encouraging civil discourse as we hopefully work together for solutions to important issues facing our country, occupy much of her time. For relaxation she loves to get together for coffee or lunch with friends, read mysteries and work on genealogy.
Julianne moved to Spokane in 2018 after living abroad in support of her spouse’s military career. Her passion for mental health research and advocacy began when her brother started to exhibit symptoms of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Eager to illuminate the biological mechanisms underlying stress-related mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety disorders, Julianne completed a doctorate in neuroscience where she investigated the effects of stress exposure on cognitive function. She has worked with non-profit organizations on a local and international level since 2012. However, the opportunity to use her background in research to advocate for mental health resources during her non-profit work abroad was particularly impactful for her. The desire to continue supporting mental health outreach and education efforts is what brought Julianne to NAMI Spokane, where she joined the Board in 2019. In her free time, Julianne spends as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors with her family and nurtures her creative side with art projects.
This is Olivette Orme’s second term on NAMI Spokane’s Board of Directors. She first served from 2015 to 2018. She was born and raised in eastern North Carolina, attended high school in Richmond, Virginia then spent a year in the Netherlands as an exchange student with the American Field Service. She returned to North Carolina where she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976. After a two years back in Richmond as the Executive Director of Richmond’s arts festival, June Jubilee, she moved West in 1980 work as the Executive Director of the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City. There, she fell in love: with the West and with her husband, Eric, a Salt Lake native. They moved to Spokane in 1988 and raised three children, two sons and a daughter. Olivette discovered NAMI as a result of their youngest child who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when she was 13. She became a
Family-to-Family teacher in 2014. Olivette has served on the Boards of Directors for Planned Parenthood and Saint George’s School and currently also serves on the Board for NAMI Washington. She is passionate about NAMI’s mission and excited to help build its capacity to serve the many in our community who live with mental illness as well as the families and friends who love them.
Chris is a Spokane native who graduated from Gonzaga University and obtained her Masters of Social Work from Eastern Washington University. She was a medical social worker for several years then worked at Eastern State Hospital as a social worker for nine years. Following her time at a Eastern State, Chris went into administration of mental health and substance use disorder programs at the state level. Her last six years of employment were as Director of the state Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.
Chris is passionate about recovery, peer to peer services and community based services. She believes that we must communicate a message of hope to individuals, families and communities. She is excited to work on the NAMI board.
Chris retired and moved back to a Spokane with her wife Ann last year. In her spare time Chris enjoys reading, nature walks, baseball, family, gardening and all things Zags.
Volunteer Positions Needed
We NEED volunteers to expand our capacity and assure more people are served and supported. In ALL cases, free training is provided. Here’s an overview (not all inclusive) of available opportunities:
Office – Assist with daily office operations. Answer the phones, help the caller identify available resources, respond to emails, distribute mail, file paperwork… you choose the tasks that best match your skills and interests. No experience required.
Community Events – Tell others about the Education, Support, and Advocacy work of NAMI Spokane at resource fairs, special events, festivals, and more. Invite others to join our efforts. Choose how much you wish to be involved.
Family to Family Facilitator (F2F) -or- Peer to Peer (P2P) Facilitator – Use your own lived experience to help others. As a peer, you can share the practical knowledge gained on your road to recovery. As a family member, you’ve lived through a mental health condition in a loved one. You have the unique qualifications to help and teach others in similar situations.
Support Group Facilitators for Family or Peers – Help support group participants share their experiences in a safe and confidential setting. Encourage them to have hope, help them find their inner strength, and help them develop their own support network.
Outreach, with the aim to increase awareness of the challenges and prevalence of mental health conditions.
In Our Own Voice – Tell your personal story, first hand. Help others understand what its like to live with a mental health condition – the challenges, the pain, and even the lessons and growth you’ve experienced. Audiences vary from professionals to community groups to family members and more.
Training Provided at no cost.
Ending the Silence – Speak to teachers, parents, and students in middle and high schools. Give your perspective as a family member or a young-person living with a mental health condition. You’ll be grouped in pairs to help broaden the understanding, empathy, and acceptance of the audience
around mental illness. Take away the mystery, the stigma, and the fear – you can really make a difference.
Newsletter – Write, edit, design and format, assist with electronic and/or hard-copy distribution.
Process Memberships and assure accuracy of our records. Send thank you cards to members and reminders for renewals.
Help us paint the town green for May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Reach out to community partners and see how much green we can wash across the city. Help us make education about mental health easily accessible.
All training provided at no cost.
You can apply to volunteer by downloading and filling out a Volunteer Application, or by completing the online form below. For more information, call the NAMI Spokane office at 509-838-5515.
- Fill out the application completely and accurately.
- Help us get to know you by giving us detailed answers in the written questions.
- If you are filling out the application digitally, enter the information into the form provided.
- If you are filling out the application manually, download this PDF file, and mail the filled out form to:
10 N Post, Suite 638
Spokane, WA 99201
We look forward to hearing from you and we appreciate you taking the time to volunteer with us! Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any questions.