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Laurie Martinelli Steps Down as Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2017

LAURIE MARTINELLI STEPS DOWN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF NAMI MASSACHUSETTS

BOSTON, MA–Tom Scurfield, President of NAMI Massachusetts (NAMI Mass), announced today that long-time Executive Director, Laurie Martinelli, has elected to move on and will be departing at the end of May 2017.

“At our last meeting, the NAMI Massachusetts Board accepted Laurie’s resignation with regret and expressed our appreciation for her leadership during her tenure. Thanks to Laurie’s hard work and commitment, NAMI Mass is a solid, vibrant organization that we can all be proud of,” said Tom Scurfield.

Ten years ago, Laurie Martinelli became the Executive Director of NAMI Mass. Under Laurie’s leadership, NAMI Mass has been revitalized both internally and externally from an organization that dealt primarily with family members and caregivers to a robust organization that delivers extensive peer programs statewide. Internally, Laurie has made a number of changes to strengthen the organization by recruiting an extremely talented and dedicated staff of 15 people and administering an annual budget which has doubled under her tenure to $1.5 million. Externally, the credibility and reputation of NAMI Mass has grown tremendously. The organization now consists equally of peers (or people with “lived experience”) and family members. NAMI Mass has its Advocacy Day each spring, for which Laurie directed research and supervised the publication of a position paper released every year, addressing such issues as criminal justice and addiction, emergency psychiatric services (ESP) or the budget of the Department of Mental Health and the need for more community based services.

Several new programs were created under Laurie’s leadership, the hallmark of which is NAMI Mass’ popular and much needed Criminal Justice Diversion project. In its fifth year, the Criminal Justice Diversion project, working closely with the Department of Mental Health, has trained scores of police and first responders about how to deal with people with mental health conditions. This training has been a highly successful effort that has had a positive impact on the lives of many NAMI members but still more is needed. Our peer programs have expanded and now NAMI Mass offers an eleven-week course called Peer-to-Peer all over the state. NAMI Mass also offers a program in the schools called Allies for Students Mental Health, a popular school-based professional development curriculum for teachers and other school personnel.

To increase awareness and corporate involvement, NAMI Mass launched a campaign, called CEOs Against Stigma. Designed to address the number one workplace disability – mental illness (depression followed by anxiety) this program helps CEOs and their management teams raise awareness and provide compassionate support to people dealing with mental health issues. And to help people throughout the Commonwealth to navigate the sometimes cumbersome mental health bureaucracy, Laurie oversaw the creation and launch of the NAMI Mass COMPASS, a resource helpline that helps thousands of peers and family members with a variety of issues ranging from housing to employment.

“I am most proud of the team we have assembled – our staff is awesome. It is only through teamwork that NAMI Mass has been able to accomplish all that is has. I am so grateful to each of them as well as the NAMI Mass board and affiliates for their strong support and friendship. I know NAMI Mass’ best days are still ahead,” said Laurie Martinelli.

Laurie will remain as Executive Director through the end of May and then she will pursue a lifelong dream – biking across the United States from Bar Harbor, Maine to Seattle, Washington. Laurie will join the “Bike Across the US for MS” team so stay tuned for more information on this new challenge.

The NAMI Mass board will be hiring a search firm to find and recruit a new Executive Director hopefully by September, but in the meantime, Deputy Director, Karen Gromis will be interim director.

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