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NAMI Mass Helps Save Lives!

Patrol Officer Timothy Stephenson joined the Brookline Police Department in 1996. Officer Stephenson serves on the department’s Crisis Intervention Team.

This past June, Officer Stephenson responded to a 911 call reporting that a man was on the roof of a psychiatric hospital and threatening to jump. Three other Brookline police officers had secured the scene and tried to engage the individual in conversation to no avail. It was a tenuous and tension-filled situation. Officer Stephenson credits the de-escalation techniques he learned in the weeklong Crisis intervention training (CIT) that he received as a Brookline Police Officer with his ability to negotiate the situation.

He gained access to the roof and introduced himself in a gentle voice. Recognizing that being approached by a police officer is often frightening for someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, Officer Stephenson asked permission to come closer and speak with him. Through his calm, quiet, reassuring manner Officer Stephenson was able to convince the individual to step away from the roof’s edge and to come with him back into the hospital. He then spent an additional forty-five minutes talking and helping him to reach out to his family.

Officer Stephenson’s story and his commitment to ensuring people with behavioral health challenges live safe and healthy lives in the community exemplify the importance of NAMI Mass’ five-year-old Criminal Justice Diversion Project (CJDP). You can show your appreciation of Officer Stephenson and the education he received because of NAMI Mass’ partnerships with police departments by donating to NAMI Mass’ Make a Difference Fund. A gift to NAMI Mass goes to work locally in the communities where you live and work.

CJDP is now working assiduously to get police departments in all 351 towns and cities trained in CIT and to divert individuals with a mental illness from incarceration. NAMI MASS is also working with legislators to change public policy. Your support has enabled us to:

  • Train nearly 500 police officers
  • Train over 2500 police recruits from across the state. Recruits receive 16 hours of interactive training in Best Response to People with Mental Illness. This curriculum was developed and implemented through a partnership between NAMI Mass, Department of Mental Health, and the Municipal Police Training Committee and is co-taught by a police trainer and a licensed mental health clinician.


I became the new Executive Director of NAMI Mass because I care deeply about its mission, values, and vision. I am excited to be a part of this organization and to join you in your efforts to ensure that everyone in this Commonwealth living with a mental health condition can receive quality services, stigma-free.

At this time of giving, please contribute as generously as possible so that we can multiply stories such as Officer Stephenson’s and maintain our educational and support programs and advocacy on significant mental health issues for all of you: our donors, friends, and members. NAMI Mass is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Thank you and have a healthy, joyful and peaceful holiday season.

Cheri Andes
Executive Director

Tom Scurfield
President, NAMI Mass Board of Directors

NAMI Massachusetts Names New Executive Director

November 2, 2017


Karen Gromis, Deputy Director
Phone: 617-580-8541
Email: kgromis@namimass.org


National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts Names New Executive Director

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, (NAMI Mass), one of the State’s leading voices on mental illness, announced this week that it has selected Cheri Andes as the organization’s new Executive Director. The announcement follows a rigorous six-month search undertaken after previous Executive Director Laurie Martinelli’s announcement that she was stepping down. NAMI Mass Deputy Director Karen Gromis assumed the position of Acting Director since Ms. Martinelli’s departure at the end of May.

“We are delighted to have found a new Executive Director with the leadership, commitment and executive experience of Ms. Andes,” said Tom Scurfield, President of the NAMI Mass Board of Directors. “This is a critical time in our state and in our nation when it comes to our mental health care. We are confident that Ms. Andes can work with our Board, our staff, our volunteers and affiliates to help fight for true mental health parity and the de-stigmatization of mental health conditions.”

“NAMI Mass has a long history of education, support and advocacy on behalf of all those affected by mental illness in the Commonwealth, and I cannot wait to join this dynamic team,” said Ms. Andes. “It won’t be easy to face the challenges confronting people with mental health diagnoses in the 21st century, but I feel confident that NAMI Mass is the organization to lead this effort and I couldn’t be happier to be part of their mission, vision, and values.”

“Ms. Andes has the background and acumen to lead and strengthen a membership-based, grassroots organization such as NAMI Mass,” continued Tom Scurfield. “She led the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) for nine years and is widely credited with spearheading the organization’s significant contribution to passing health care reform in the State. She is also credited with leading a grassroots process for defining what affordable and quality coverage would look like for the state’s poorest residents.”

Most recently, Ms. Andes has worked as the Director Of Organizing Strategy with Leadership for Educational Equity, helping to found and mentor new educational equity organizations in New York, Connecticut, and Boston. She holds a BA in English from Bucknell University and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. She will assume her position as Executive Director of NAMI Mass on November 8, 2017.