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 Board Members
Teri has volunteered with NAMI Spokane for 3 years, starting as a volunteer and serving as a Board Director, Vice President, and now President. She is employed as a case manager working with the elderly and disabled. Teri has nearly 20 years experience in social services. She is currently in recovery with her mental illnesses, and is continually working on maintaining stability and self-care. She enjoys cycling, poetry, home improvement, and yellow curry. She probably enjoys the curry a little too much. She lives in Spokane with her partner, dog and cat.
Olivette came to the Board from her volunteer position as a Family-to-Family teacher. She grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, and moved to Spokane from Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was the Executive Director of the Utah Arts Festival. With her husband, Eric, she has raised three children in Spokane, two sons and a daughter who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when she was thirteen. Olivette has served on Planned Parenthood boards in Salt Lake City and Spokane and is currently also a board member for Saint George’s School. She loves to ride bikes, run, hike, fly-fish, ski, and garden. When she can’t be outdoors, she loves to read and cook. She helped design and build the straw bale house in which she and Eric have lived for the past four years, and she is an enthusiastic vermiculturist.
I became involved in NAMI through the Family-to-Family training in 2014. I have a son with schizophrenia and I’m very interested in helping support the community of people who live with mental illness. For several years I’ve been involved in community organizations and am currently serving as the Board Chair of Transitions. My professional experience includes over 20 years in banking. In the fall of 2015 I retired as Treasurer of American West Bank. I enjoy working with groups in Spokane to strengthen our community. In my leisure time I like to garden and to travel. My last trip, a year ago, was to spend a month walking the Camino to Santiago in Northern Spain. It was a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world!
I discovered NAMI when my husband and I took the Family-to-Family class in the Spring of 2011. My son started having trouble with anxiety and panic attacks at the end of his freshman year of college in 2007. We started seeing symptoms of psychosis during the last part of 2010. As he got more symptomatic I felt totally helpless. As an RN I knew about mental illness but had never had any direct experience. The Family-to-Family class was a lifesaver as well as a marriage saver. I decided to get trained to teach the class because I wanted to be able to help others the way I had been helped. I joined the NAMI board last fall because I wanted to go further in my supporting of the mission of NAMI. I am in my 21st year as a School Nurse for Central Valley School District. I have two sons, one in Spokane and one in Seattle. I am blessed to have my parents (90 and 83), who are very healthy and active, living here as well. I enjoy reading, knitting, needlework, hiking, and cross country skiing.
Karen has worked as a public interest lawyer in the community for over 22 years. Much of her work has focused on representing indigent individuals on criminal charges, and thus she frequently works with clients who live with mental illnesses. In addition, Karen has been personally touched by mental illness – her younger brother passed away this spring from alcoholism. Prior to his death, he suffered from severe depression. Karen’s parents and sister have struggled with the loss of her brother, and she is keenly aware of the significant impacts of mental illness on family and friends. Karen and her husband are the proud parents of two teenage boys – ages 16 and 19. The 16-year-old is a junior at Lewis & Clark High School, and the 19-year-old is a sophomore at the University of Washington.
I have worked in the nonprofit sector since 2008, both behind the scenes and out engaging with the public. I have a background in communication studies, women’s studies, and queer theory, and am committed to working passionately to advocate for civil and human rights for all people. I have personally experienced discrimination and shame regarding my mental health and am honored to support an organization that works to end the stigma of mental illness, and provide those affected with much needed resources. I spend most of my time working as a volunteer manager for a nonprofit in downtown Spokane, but when I’m not working you will usually find me at home with my partner, knitting, and covered in fur from our two adorable dogs.