Board Members and Staff
Leah Harris, Director
Leah Harris, M.A., is a mother, advocate, writer, a trauma survivor, and a person with a psychiatric history, whose lived experience is her greatest expertise. Leah has been a nationally recognized leader in the mental health recovery movement for over a decade. She has written and spoken widely about her own experiences of trauma, addiction, suicide, severe mental health challenges, and recovery, and as the daughter of two parents who were diagnosed with severe mental illness, both of whom died very young as a result of their disabilities. This depth of personal experience fuels Leah’s unstoppable commitment to ensuring a meaningful life in the community and civil/human rights for people with mental health conditions, addictions, and trauma histories.
She is a suicide attempt survivor and expert who consults on new innovations in suicide prevention with the Center for Dignity, Recovery, and Empowerment serves on the Suicide Attempt Survivor Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and on the Zero Suicide Advisory Group. She is also the co-founder of a newly-developing advocacy, research, resource, and support network created by and for people with lived experience of suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts/feelings.
She is an Emotional CPR facilitator, and promotes a range of trauma-informed approaches to supporting individuals through distress and crisis and into recovery.
Lauren Spiro, Associate Director
Fueled by a vision of an America where every individual is respected and included as a valued member of the community, Lauren’s work focuses on developing our capacity for compassion, appreciating the vast creativity of the human mind, and building pathways so everyone may come home. She is the co-founder and co-director of Emotional CPR. She co-founded two non-profit corporations and is the associate director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. She consults on several Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s contracts and her memoir, Living for Two: A Daughter’s Journey From Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and Peace was published in 2014 . She has an M.A. in Clinical/Community Psychology. For more information see www.Laurenspiro.com
Raymond L. Bridge, Director of Public Policy
Ray is a person in recovery from depression who became an advocate because of his own experiences and those of his family members. He is passionate about empowerment and justice. Beginning in 1990 he helped to found and lead three mental health consumer organizations: the Northern Virginia Mental Health Consumers Association, VOCAL, and the Laurie Mitchell Employment Center in Northern Virginia. Ray has been active in advocacy and transformation of Virginia’s public mental health system at the state, regional and local level. He served as president of the state Mental Health Planning Council for three years, was a member of an Olmstead Oversight Committee, and helped to design Virginia’s Medicaid Buy-in program. In 2008, Ray played a leading role in creating seven recovery projects in Northern Virginia that were funded as part of the Governor’s mental health transformation initiative. Ray comes to NCMHR from Mental Health America, where he was a writer and consumer advocate. He spent a career in government communications.
NCMHR Board of Directors
Ronda Ames - Midwest Region
Charles Willis - Southern Region
Linda Corey - Northeast Region
Todd Lange - Plains Region
Dave Sanders - Mid-Atlantic Region
Vacant - West Region
3 TA Center Reps:
Amy Zulich - PEERLINK
Daniel Fisher - NEC
Joseph Rogers - Self-Help Clearinghouse
Ronda was labeled with mental illness at a very young age and decided early on that she would somehow devote her life to helping people with their rights and recovery journeys. She is the Executive Director of KEY Consumer Organization Inc., an education & advocacy organization for people with mental health and addiction issues. Ronda has a Governor's appointment to the legislative Mental Illness & Addiction Commission. She has served in this capacity for the last 6 years. She is Chair of the Indiana Consumer Council, a member of the Indiana Mental Health & Addiction Planning & Advisory Council; Chair of the Indiana Protection & Advocacy Mental Illness Advisory Council; Secretary of the IPAS Commission; and participates on various boards and councils throughout the state.
Ronda advocates and speaks locally and nationally on Recovery. She is an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator Trainer for Mary Ellen Copeland's Wellness Recovery Action Plan and has trained thousands of consumers throughout the state on how to have longer periods of wellness. She is also a West Virginia Certified Leadership Academy Trainer. Ronda spends her leisure time with her two grandchildren.
Linda has been the Executive Director of the statewide consumer run agency of Vermont (Vermont Psychiatric Survivors) for 9 years. Previously she was the Recovery Education Coordinator for Vermont Recovery Education Project. Linda began having mental health issues at age 6. She is passionate about recovery and building peer leadership. Linda believes that recovery is a personal process which each individual must define for one’s self.
Dan obtained a PhD in biochemistry and carried out neurochemical research at the National Institutes of Mental Health. During the course of that work, he was labeled with mental illness. He recovered, earned a medical degree and became a psychiatrist. As co-founder and Executive Director of the National Empowerment Center, he has been an outspoken advocate for rights and recovery. Dan was a Commissioner on the White House New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He promotes recovery throughout the US and in Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, United Kingdom, Portugal and Korea.
Lauren Grimes - At-large (elected in Oct 2012)
Lauren Grimes is currently the Transitional Age Youth Outreach Coordinator for On Our Own of Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and International Relations from McDaniel College. She has struggled with and overcome numerous behavioral health challenges since she was an adolescent, and as a young adult has worked and volunteered with youth and adults involved in the behavioral health system, as well as youth in the foster care, child welfare and juvenile justice systems, through programs such as Baltimore’s Step-Up Mayor’s Initiative. She is a trained WRAP and Anti-Stigma Project Facilitator, and works extensively within the field of peer support and youth-led systems change. She currently stands on committees including OOOMD’s Public Policy in Mental Health Committee and the Anti-Stigma Project, Maryland Coalition for Families Young Adult Council, MHA’s MD Peer Support Certification Workgroup, and several others as a young adult consumer advocate.
Jimi Kelley - At-large (elected in Oct 2012)
Jimi Kelley is a Family Support Specialist and consultant with First Nations Behavioral Health working with Native communities throughout North America. He was the Chair of NAMI's national Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and was a co-creator of the STAR Center's curriculum for regarding mental health as Intense Spiritual Experience. In addition to working for Tribal communities on the national level, Jimi also advocates for Native consumers and family on the State level in Tennessee, serving on Tenn-Care's Behavioral Health Committee with Value Options.
Five years ago, Todd Lange fueled his recovery from depression and anxiety through service to NAMI and the peer-run Wellness Center in Dubuque. Todd credits his ongoing recovery to building connections with others and finding purposeful work.
"I've learned along my recovery path the power and importance of nurturing my whole person, body, mind and spirit. Diet and exercise, connection with people I love and care about, and doing work that helps to improve the lives of others have all been key to my ongoing recovery."
Todd is one of the founders of the Iowa Advocates for Mental Health Recovery and currently serves as the Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs. He is in the second year of marriage to advocate and crisis counselor Carolyn Pettit-Lange and loves spending time walking along the Mississippi River, cheering for the Hawkeyes or spending time with his nephews. History and democracy are his other passions.
|Joseph A. Rogers
Joseph Rogers is executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, one of five consumer and consumer supporter national technical assistance centers funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Mental Health Services; and chief of advocacy of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has testified before U.S. Senate committees; has consulted in more than 30 states, as well as nationally and internationally; has served on numerous boards and committees; and has received a number of local and national awards, including the 2005 Heinz Award for the Human Condition, which is accompanied by a $250,000 unrestricted cash award.
David (Dave) Sanders has had an eighteen year career in the behavioral healthcare field. He has spent the last decade of his career working for the WV Mental Health Consumers Association doing systemic community and public policy advocacy at the state and local level, and recently joined the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities in the Office of Consumer Affairs and Community Outreach. Dave is in recovery from mental health and substance abuse issues, and enjoys sharing the story of his recovery journey with others, as well as mental health public policy analysis and advocacy. He has presented nationally on several topics including public policy advocacy, psychiatric advance directives, supported housing, due process issues in involuntary treatment and mental health recovery. In his spare time he enjoys volunteering as a mental health and addiction state policy analyst for a cross disability advocacy group known as the Fair Shake Network.
|Charles B. Willis
Charles Willis is the Georgia Peer Support Resiliency Project Director with the GA Mental Health Consumer Network, an organization that promotes recovery through advocacy, education, employment empowerment, peer support and self-help. His work in the area of Self Directed Recovery has led him to become an Advanced Level Wrap Facilitator through the Copeland Center. He is an enthusiastic individual with over 20 years of successful, results-oriented experience in the helping professions of education and facilitation. In addition, Mr. Willis has worked as a Senior Research Interviewer with Emory University Grace Crum Rollins School of Public Health.
Mr. Willis has an undergraduate and Master's Degree from Fort Valley State University. He has completed the Georgia Certified Peer Specialist Training which is a project of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and The Department of Human Resources Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. He has earned the credential of a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner from the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. He is a member of the Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council (MHPAC), Board Member of Mental Health America of Georgia, and a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council.
Amy Zulich is the director of Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center, a SAMHSA funded project of Mental Health America of Oregon. MHAO/Peerlink is an inclusive grass roots mental health organization dedicated to empowering consumer/survivor voices to drive services and policies that foster wellness and full participation in life choices and recovery. Before working for MHAO, Amy developed and coordinated programs at Empowerment Initiatives, a peer-run agency providing peer mentor services in Portland Oregon. She also serves on Disability Rights Oregon's PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness) Council and on the board of directors of the Oregon Consumer/Survivor Coalition. She uses her personal and professional experiences with wellness and mental health recovery to power her service and advocacy efforts.