Board Members and Staff
Valerie L. Marsh, Executive Director
Val Marsh received both her bachelor’s (1977) and master’s degrees (1989) in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (VCU), Virginia. Her master’s degree concentration was mental health policy, administration and planning.
Val worked with the homeless in Richmond for approximately 16 years at the Daily Planet, a multi-purpose nonprofit that served up to 6,000 individuals each year. She gained experience in direct service, administration, program development, advocacy and fundraising. During graduate school, Val completed her field placement within the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness program (PAIMI) at Virginia’s federally funded protection and advocacy agency (P&A), then housed within state government.
Val served as the executive director of NAMI-Virginia from 1994-2004. Under her leadership, NAMI-VA became known as a whistleblower for abuse, neglect and unnatural deaths in Virginia’s public psychiatric hospitals. Other accomplishments included but were not limited to the following: 1) a successful campaign to transform the state’s P&A into an independent entity outside of the governor’s purview; 2) limiting time served by misdemeanants found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity; 3) increasing Medicaid financial eligibility criteria in order to serve consumers previously ineligible; 4) creating a mandate for mental health boards and advisory committees to include representation of mental health consumers and family members.
Val served as an adjunct faculty member at VCU for seven years, teaching policy, advocacy and human behavior to graduate and undergraduate students in social work. Val has additional experience in grant writing, low income housing, and teaching both mental health consumers and college students how to participate in democracy at local, state and national levels.
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
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