The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota elected Raquel Arismendez, Napoleon Howell, Jennifer Knapp, Dr. Jazlynn Paige and Meredith Vadis to the organization board during its recent annual meeting.
Arismendez is a project manager working with schools and nonprofits that primarily serve young people of color in culturally affirming ways. Having firsthand experience with the barriers queer youth of color face in accessing mental health services, she is passionate about NAMI Minnesota’s mission, both personally and professionally. She hopes to bring not only her lived experiences and her professional background as well to support improving equitable access to mental health services for historically underserved populations.
Howell is a leader within Deloitte Consulting’s strategy practice. He has experienced the devastating impact of overt and covert manifestations of mental illness and seeks to leverage his capabilities to drive the solutioning needed. He is particularly interested in helping lower income communities gain awareness and access to mental health resources.
Knapp works as a program manager for a Fortune 500 company focused on community outreach, strategy, and meeting planning. She has more than 11 years of communications experience in the non-profit, sports, financial and retail industries. She was formally diagnosed with OCD, general anxiety and depression after the birth of her second son, just days after the pandemic lockdown. Her desire to be on the NAMI Board stems from wanting to impact those struggling to openly share their story or ask for help due to the lingering negative attitudes surrounding mental illnesses.
Paige is the founder of Paige Psychological Consulting with eight years of experience as a school psychologist. She contracts with over ten school districts across Minnesota, providing school psychology services to kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Her expertise includes mental health, trauma, family support, homelessness, suicide prevention, special education equity and relationship building. Her passion fuels her desire to serve on the NAMI Board to improve the lives of her community Board Nominees by changing the attitudes surrounding mental health and providing the tools and resources that families need to be successful in all aspects of their lives.
Vadis is a longtime public servant and current business executive in the occupational health and wellness industry. Mental illnesses are prevalent in her family, and her younger sister recently died by suicide. Her public service background in low-income housing and public transit gives her unique insight into how mental health plays out across many public policy areas, and she looks forward to advancing NAMI’s initiatives at all levels of government.