Helpline: 1-800-686-2646 or text NAMI to 741741 1225 Dublin Road, Suite 210, Columbus OH 43215

Now Hiring – Director, Children’s Division


The Director for the Children’s Division at NAMI Ohio is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the Children’s Division and also serves as a representative from NAMI Ohio to the external professional children’s mental health community. The Director is responsible for three programs with the division. These programs are: Family Peer Support Training; Parent Advocacy Connection (PAC); and YouthMove.  Each program has one staff member who serves as the program lead. The Children’s Director serves as the direct supervisor for those staff.

The Director is responsible for reporting to funders as well as the NAMI Ohio Executive Director.  In addition to supervision, this position helps manage the budget and reporting for all programs.  This position also serves as the primary liaison between NAMI Ohio and the OMHAS Children’s Division Director. Lastly, the Director will work with the Staff and Board to develop and implement an advocacy plan that promotes access to quality children’s programs throughout the State of Ohio.

Skills: The Children’s Division Director should have a solid working knowledge of the child-serving system of care (mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, family and children’s first councils, etc.).  Knowledge regarding children’s mental health is essential.  The ability to be task oriented, flexible, have excellent time management, communication, and stress management skills are critical as well as those tied to being an effective team leader. A thorough knowledge of applicable state rules and regulations and stay up-to-date with any legislative changes that can affect the operation of the program.  Collaboration across other NAMI departments as well as with affiliates to further the reach of children’s programming.  Implementation of core NAMI initiatives in partnership with peers. Ability to be a vocal advocate for children and families involved in the mental health system.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of experience in a related field; master’s degree preferred.
  • Strong collaboration and communication skills, and willingness to consult with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated understanding of knowledge management principles and capacity to deliver management and/or organizational learning activities.
  • Excellent facilitation, program/activity management, and written and oral communication skills.
  • Creative problem-solving and ability to work under tight deadlines.
  • Proven ability to lead project teams and deliver impact, with minimal supervision in a fast-paced and challenging environment.
  • High level of competency in learning management software/platforms, and Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills and can be detail oriented while holding the larger strategy.
  • Models curiosity, flexibility, integrity and commitment to the NAMI mission, vision and values.


This is a Full-time position.  Compensation and Benefits package competitive. Send resume and salary requirements to Luke Russell at

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NAMI Ohio Supports Proposed State Budget – Some Changes Needed

NAMI Ohio Supports Proposed State Budget – Some Changes Needed

Written by: Alan Johnson

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio supports the proposed state budget, House Bill 110, because it offers an enhanced focus on adults with serious mental illness and begins to address what is missing in Ohio’s mental health system – personalized care, support, and/or treatment.

However, NAMI Ohio does have concerns about provisions altering the makeup of county mental health boards and a shift altering Gov. Mike DeWine’s original Student Wellness and Success Funds.

In written testimony submitted to the Ohio Senate Health Committee, NAMI Ohio Executive Director Terry Russell called House Bill 110 “the right direction for Ohio. The governor and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services approach to a multi-system adult service system is in the right direction

Russell continued, “Over 50,000 Ohioans with disabling mental illness end up in homeless shelters, jails, prisons, and in and out of psychiatric hospitals – UNLIKE other disabled populations such as individuals with Developmental Disabilities or aging. NAMI Ohio believes HB 110 begins to recognize that serious and persistent mental illness is often times disabling, and we need to address the quality of life for these individuals currently in the system.”

Since 1988, when the state passed the historic Mental Health Act, six state psychiatric hospitals were closed. But in the intervening 32 years, the promised community support system for those with serious and persistent mental illness find themselves in prisons, jails, homeless, and in sub-standard housing.

Russell praised several specific components of the budget bill, including:

  • A new focus on collaborative, multi-system services for those with serious and persistent mental illness beyond the typical community mental health treatment model will save lives by increasing access to care.
  • Improved quality of life for those living in residential group homes by giving residential operators a financial incentive.
  • Increased funding for Crisis Stabilization Centers and regional State Psychiatric Hospitals to provide “a critical part of the crisis continuum of care and act as a safety net for those needing longer lengths of inpatient care.”
  • Greater focus on intervention for those with mental illness living in jails and state correctional facilities.

Russell testified that NAMI Ohio opposes changes in the budget that would remove the requirement for individuals with lived experience, family members, and professionals to serve on local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Boards. He said the changes are “wrong and play into the stigma toward those with mental illness and substance use disorders. We believe this is a disservice to the individuals with mental illness and their families by eliminating their voice on local County ADAMH Boards.”

Russell further said NAMI Ohio would like to see Gov. DeWine’s original Student Wellness and Success Funds restored as part of an updated school funding formula. As amended, the budget would combine Student Wellness and Success Funds with the Economically Disadvantage funds into the Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid (DPIA) fund.

He said the combination would reduce overall funding and overlay a distribution plan based solely on the number of low-income students identified in each school and the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch. Russell said while unintended this approach “stigmatizes social-emotional development, mental health, and prevention as limited to low-income students and families.”

In conclusion, Russell said NAMI Ohio believes the budget will improve services to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, allow the state to focus on the most vulnerable population, prioritize a “Person-Centered Care Model,” boost support for housing, food, and shelter, and allow the development of rehabilitation centers, group homes, day services, clubhouses, and peer recovery centers.

A Grandmother’s Plea

A Grandmother’s Plea

Written by: Alan Johnson

Julie fears her grandson is lost, the victim of a mental health system that repeatedly failed him for years.

Jacob, Julie’s 21-year-old grandson, has multiple mental health diagnoses, triggered in infancy when his mother abducted and took him out of state where she frequented crack drug houses. He developed what is known as “reactive attachment disorder,” which occurs when very young, abused, and neglected children have no feeling of safety and security. Jacob’s reaction to a crisis is fight or flight.

“He’s going to be a statistic,” said Julie, who now works in a long-term care facility after previously being employed at a hospital. “I think the health care system, the mental health system, and the schools all failed him. He was a child left behind,” she said.

Jacob’s story is all too common in a fragmented and underfunded mental health system that focuses on what services are available and not what the person needs.

After being abducted to Colorado, Jacob ended up in foster care before Julie and her husband brought him back to Ohio. The problems started almost immediately. She took him to counseling and Jacob was placed on medication at a young age.

Jacob moved to live with his father at age 10, but things just got worse, with the boy ending up at a juvenile facility after police came and picked him up at his elementary school. “I never send them this young, but I don’t know what else to do,” Julie remembered the judge saying in court.

Since then, Jacob has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, has been arrested frequently, and spends most days in adult care facilities. But he runs away often, and sometimes walks down the middle of the highway, and has said he wants to die – “to be smashed on the road like a deer.”

When the police come, Jacob often resists and throws rocks and bottles at them, his fight or flight response from childhood kicking in.

At one point, when Jacob was being dropped at a hospital for psychiatric treatment, a police officer told him he faced four criminal charges when he got out. That made things worse for the troubled young man.

Through it all, in 18 years since coming back to Ohio, Jacob has not received the consistent mental health treatment he so desperately needs.

Julie has not given up on Jacob, and never will. But, she said she has run out of options.

‘I have taken him to counseling for years. It’s emotionally and physically draining to go through this over and over again. We’ve done everything we’ve been asked to do.”

She continued, “I love him. He’s innocent. He did not ask to be like this.”

“I feel scared for his future. I feel there’s no way he can have any sense of normalcy in this life. He’s not a criminal. He just needs help.”