Shattering Silence for Serious Mental Illness

NSSC is an alliance of diverse individuals who are uniting to ensure that mental illness, health, and criminal justice systems count those with SMI, SED, and their families in all federal, state, and local policy reforms.

Meet The Team

Coordinator & Steering Committee Co-Chair, NSSC.

Jeanne’s been an advocate for the seriously mentally ill since 2002. She has a blog at http://mystruggleforgabriel.blogspot.com where she’s created a history of her efforts to get treatment for her son. Jeanne’s mother suffered from bipolar disorder and never received adequate treatment for her illness.

With the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), she and other advocates got Maine’s version of AOT, the PTP Program, passed along with changes to Maine’s statutes regarding commitment laws allowing for a “need for treatment” and “grave disability” standard.

Jeanne worked with the TAC to support passage of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act which became part of the 21st Century Cures Act. She holds a bachelors degree in business from Fitchburg State College. She's owned her own franchise, Cruise Planners, since 1998.
Jeanne Allen Gore
Steering Committee Co-Chair,
ISMICC Committee,
Communications Committee,
Emergency Action Committee,
Advisory Committee
"With care and patience, people may accomplish things which, to an indolent person, would appear impossible."

-Dorothea Dix
Tamara Lee is the mother of four beautiful children. She lives on a 40-acre horse farm in West Virginia where she raises Arabian horses and writes. She started Healthy Mind Ministry and ministers to those with serious mental illness (SMI) in her community.

Tamara's passionate about making the world a kinder, safer place for those living with SMI. Her eldest son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and she understands the impact that has had on his life and her family.
Tamara Dalrymple
Steering Committee Co-Chair,
Emergency Action Committee Chair, Communications Committee,
Advisory Committee
"I can't change my son's diagnosis, but I hope to change how the world treats him."
Dede established the Institute for Mental Illness and Wellness Education at Cal State Hayward, served as walk director for the first two NAMI walks in San Francisco, and was the first Mental Health Services Act Policy Director for NAMI California.

Today, Dede has two blogs on her website, Sooner Than Tomorrow, A Safe Place to Talk About Mental Illness in Our Families. One publishes first person stories of families with serious mental illness. The other blog is her book, Sooner Than Tomorrow, A Mother’s Diary. She wrote it from 2013 to 2014 not realizing she was capturing the last year of her son’s life. He died in 2014 on a psych ward where she thought he’d be safe. www.soonerthantomorrow.com

Dede’s essay about serious mental illness, “A Canary in the Coal Mine,” is included in a new book, We Rise to Resist: Voices from a New Era in Women’s Political Action. On Amazon
Dede Ranahan
Steering Committee,
Communications Committee
As a microbiologist for psychiatric hospitals of the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) in the 1970s/80s, Dianne developed interest in the well-being of those with severe mental illness. Later, she obtained a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University and worked as a grant administrator focused on HUD housing grants in small cities. While she worked on a project to fund transitional housing for men, an ODMH study found the lack of affordable housing was the “cause” of mental illness and turned its departmental back on responsibility for treating the homeless mentally ill.

Dianne watched her father and a friend suffer serious breakdowns. With medication they were able to recover. However, her younger sister and her son died young of conditions that weren’t diagnosed because of the effects of their mental illnesses.

Now retired, Dianne advocates for serious mental illness treatment and the elimination of homelessness.
Dianne Harris
ISMICC Committee
Laura Pogliano
Laura Pogliano is a training and education consultant in Baltimore, MD. She was the primary caretaker of her son, Zaccaria, who was stricken with schizophrenia at age 17. Ms. Pogliano is the director of Parents for Care, a nonprofit that provides practical supports and small financial grants to caregivers of those with mental illnesses and their families. Zaccaria’s story has been featured in CBS News, USA Today, and Baltimore and Oprah magazines.
Steering Committee,
ISMICC Committee Co-Chair, Advisory Committee
"your place on this earth is right next to your brother--the sick, the suffering, the unwanted, the maligned, the poor; and the only worthwhile response is love"
Lynn Nanos is a licensed independent clinical social worker employed as a full-time mobile psychiatric emergency clinician in Massachusetts. She evaluates patients in homes, jails, residential programs, day treatment programs, rest homes, ER’s, and inpatient medical units. She determines if patients are presenting a danger to themselves or other(s). She authorizes and implements involuntary transfers to hospitals or refers individuals to residential treatment, outpatient care or crisis stabilization units.​​

With a master’s of science in social work from Columbia University, Lynn also worked as an inpatient psychiatric social worker. On inpatient, she assessed adults for danger to self or to the community, and self-care ability. She referred them to aftercare treatment or advocated with insurance companies for their continued stay.

Lynn published the book, Breakdown: A Clinician’s Experience in a Broken System of Emergency Psychiatry. She’s petitioned NAMI to include AOT in their advocacy efforts and testified for AOT in the Massachusetts legislature.
Lynn Nanos
​ISMICC Committee, Blog Committee
Katherine Flannery Dering is a writer, business woman and activist.  In 2014 she published Shot in the Head, a Sister’s Memoir a Brother’s Struggle (Bridgeross), which deals with caring for her brother Paul, who suffered with severe and treatment resistant schizophrenia. Her poetry chapbook, Aftermath, to be published in 2018, began during a period of introspection following the death of her nephew from a heroin overdose.

Advocating for better care for the mentally ill, Katherine participated in efforts to get the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which morphed into the 21st Century Cures Act, passed in Congress. She works to reinvigorate and fund psychiatric hospitals and to implement long term supportive housing. She’s also interested in demanding evidenced based practices at drug rehab facilities. She lives in New York, is a mother and grandmother, has been active for many years with the League of Women Voters, and blogs at www.deringkatherine.wordpress.com.
Katherine Flannery Dering
Communications Committee, ISMICC Committee
Gwen is the parent of an adolescent who has schizoaffective disorder. In 2013, she founded Amazing Grace Advocacy, a nonprofit serving families raising children, teens, and young adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED).

Gwen’s developed a care navigation program to help families navigate the systems of mental health, education, and community based services. Her efforts have carried her beyond her local county. She’s active with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in the children and youth branch.

She’s working with state legislators to bring systems change in how pediatric mental health, specific to SMI/SED, is handled in her state. She’s seeking solutions for disparities in private insurance programs for children with SMI/SED and developing, with legislators, a Medicaid buy-in for youth with SMI/SED. Her motto, “Every Life Has a Purpose,” drives her life’s work.
Gwen Bartley
​ISMICC Committee
"Every Life Has a Purpose"
Alison Monroe, of Oakland, California, has been an angry mom in Alameda County for four years, fighting a broken system for the survival of her schizophrenic dual-diagnosis daughter, for beds locked and unlocked, and for programs like AOT
Alison Monroe
​ISMICC Committee, Blog Committee Chair
Chrisa Hickey is a blogger and mental health advocate specializing in providing education and support for parents of children diagnosed with serious mental illness. She began her journey into the world of childhood onset mental illness when her middle child, Timothy, was diagnosed with childhood onset schizophrenia at the age of 11. In 2009, she began her blog, The Mindstorm, to share her family's story and share resources and knowledge with other parents struggling to raise children stricken with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to writing her blog, Chrisa is a public speaker, has guest blogged for Pulitzer Prize nominated author Pete Earley, BringChange2Mind, and NAMI, has served on an advisory board for Janssen Pharmaceutical, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, and The Ricki Lake Show to discuss the crisis in mental health care for children and adolescents. She is a digital marketing executive for a small company in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Chrisa Hickey
Communication Committee
Ingrid was a founding member and President of NAMI Franklin County, Ohio in 1988.

She was a case manager to older adults who transitioned from psychiatric hospitals back to community living (1990-1992).

In 1989 she was a participant, with the Ohio Department of Mental Health, in research and program evaluation of SB 156, the 1988 Mental Health Act, and served as regional representative of the Community Support Program of the Department of Mental Health.

From 1990 to 1992, she was Vice Chair of the PAIMI Council in Columbus, Ohio.

From 1990-1996, she was a Taskforce member of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Board in Columbus, Ohio and served on the training committee for The Crisis Intervention Team.

She is a graduate of Journey of Hope (Family to Family) Facilitator Training.

Ingrid continues to advocate in her community and for her daughter, who has severe mental illness and anosognosia.
Ingrid Silvian
Tama T. Bell is trained as a scientist and works in healthcare. She’s also the mother to three special needs children. One child has serious mental illness and, as he was becoming a young adult, the mental health system had a serious breakdown. Budgets were cut, beds were lost, treatments were available to only a select type — not like her son who was deemed “hard to serve.” While HIPAA was meant to be a protective law, it stopped Tama from helping her son. She heard advice from mental health counselors like, “If he goes to prison, he’ll get more help than out here in the community.” Tama’s son landed in solitary confinement but treatment in prison is almost nonexistent. Tama began her advocacy against the criminalization of the mentally ill. She became a reverend and is writing a thesis on restorative justice. Her family lives in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York State.
Tama Bell
Communications Committee
I’m the mother of a marine veteran who’s been battling bipolar and schizoaffective disorders for 14 years. We’re at a point in his mental illness where he can’t function safely on his own and needs long term mental health care. We’re frustrated in our efforts to find a suitable solution.

Current long-term treatment is non-existent. We’ve been supportive parents during this journey with our son but now we need more help, even if it means trying to turn a battleship in quicksand. We feel families like ours and mentally Ill citizens could benefit from some new options.
Sherri McGimsey
Emergency Action Committee