Mad in America Blogger Elected President of NAMI


Keris Jan Myrick, a Mad in America blogger, as well as president and CEO of Pasadena-based Project Return Peer Support Network, has been elected president of NAMI by its board of directors. She has been interviewed and designated a “Game Changer” by Canadian Broadcasting Centre’s radio show The Current: Changing the Face of Schizophrenia. The New York Times profiled her in 2011, including a video.

Article → 

Keris Jan Myrick
Keris Jan Myrick

“It is very exciting to be elected by the board of directors to serve as the NAMI National Board president. Through our board’s commitment to succession planning and leadership development, I feel confident and supported in this new role. It is also an exciting time for NAMI as we strengthen our organization in many ways inclusive of diversification of our funding, increasing our focus on recovery and resiliency in policy, education and supports and building an inclusive organization based on our new Standards of Excellence.

“Our recent NAMI convention “Think, Learn and Live: Wellness, Resiliency and Recovery” is a testament to NAMI’s commitment to focus on the whole person approach to living with and overcoming emotional distress. The highlight for me was attending the Hearing Voices Network seminar by Ron Coleman, from Wales, who wowed a room overflowing with NAMI members who embraced his message and the Hearing Voices Network paradigm. It was also wonderful to look out at a crowd that is younger and more diverse! Many of our NAMI members and leaders throughout the country are engaged in really cool things such as traveling to Finland to learn about Open Dialogue!

“This is an opportunity to broaden the discussion about mental health treatment, advocacy and research. I am looking forward to doing what I do best which is to listen, learn and act from all perspectives as well as to bring my lived and leadership experience to continue drive our organization forward.”

Related Item:
Wow. Keris Jan Myrick elected president of NAMI (Beyond Meds)

Previous articleBob Faw – Long Bio
Next articleDepartment of Defense Reveals Forced Drugging of Detainees
Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]


  1. This seems incredibly significant to me, is it not? NAMI is generally not regarded as being a true voice of mental health consumers, supporting policies which many clients oppose. By electing a consumer/professional as president, this appears to represent a shift. Perhaps I’m wrong, I am no expert in these issues, but given what I have learned over the past two years about the consumer/self-help movement, as well as my own personal experience, this seems like very good news.

  2. I do find this kind of startling – I am hoping a sign of a change of attitude as the hard facts about DSM diagnosis and poor long-term outcomes for those exposed to drugs even makes the mainstream media. Could this be a sign that psychiatry’s stranglehold on the mental health world is beginning to loosen?

    —- Steve

  3. @Kermit – thanks for the fyi! This is exciting and thanks to Mad in America for the scoop 🙂 ! I am both a consumer/client and a former journalist attempting to revive my writing career. I started learning/becoming part of the consumer/survivor (or whatever one chooses to call it) movement about a year ago, and that is how I also heard of Mr. Whitaker. I am attempting to launch my own Web site but it appears you guys have already beat me to the punch in covering news in this sector – which I’m all too happy to concede :).

  4. Congratulations to Ms. Myrick!. This is great news. I have no idea how it happened, but I’m guessing it has something to do with being an open human being who makes positive connections with other human beings and isn’t put off by any different views they might have. Connecting with people, with positive energy, makes a huge difference. All the best in this new chapter.

  5. There is always the possibility that NAMI realizes that they’ve gotten in too deep. Decades of forcing brain damage onto people and then some guy (Whitaker) writes a book detailing how all the evidence that such a thing was an atrocity had been piling up since the very beginning. Maybe they discovered that they would have no good excuse when the facts finally become undeniable and are trying to change direction before that time comes so that they don’t get treated like Nazi’s and be destroyed.

  6. The National Alliance for Medicalizing human distress is not an organization I’d ever want to get into bed with, but I suppose this development may be a good thing.

    It remains to be seen. Will NAMI still be a drug company funded force for coercive laws?

    We will wait and see.

  7. In my personal experience it’s a betrayal to survivors of forced psychiatry and the sister & brothers  locked up on psychiatric wards and people forced drugged under  IOC/AOT “law” that NAMI supports. It’s a betrayal under the continued acceptance and use of funds from pharma.  I don’t expect much more from the invasion of “consumerism” in the movement. It’s a sad day that people call themselves “peers” or are claim they a part of a CSX movement that rose from the human rights violations of people labeled by psychiatry.  Everyday people are tortured (force drugged, shocked, restrained and secluded and put in institutions and ordered under commitment laws)  with the “help”, promotion and supporting  of agency’s such as NAMI and it’s “dynamic propaganda duo” EF Torrey and DJ Jaffee . To all you wanna believers that  NAMI can “change” or to you all who are a part of and have a “voice or a seat at the table”.  Let’s see action “call” (voice and use your seat at the table) to  cease the support of 
    Of accepting pharma money and above all “call” for the the NATIONAL NAMI & other state NAMIs to end support and marketing of AOT/IOC and all forced psychiatric treatment. 

    • Very good comment. I reiterate what I said above, this MAY be a good development and I wish this lady the best.

      But, ‘consumer’ is with me and many people, the dirtiest word.

      A plantation slave is not a ‘consumer’ of employment services.

      A death row inmate is not a ‘consumer’ of lethal injection drugs.

      A rape victim is not a ‘consumer’ of sexual services.

      A rendered CIA terror suspect is not a ‘consumer’ of waterboarding services.

      An Afghan woman accused to adultery is not a ‘consumer’ of Kalashnikov’s gunsmithing services.

      A person labeled brain diseased by quacks who don’t even examine brains and held down and injected is not a ‘consumer’ of psychiatry.

      The same person ordered to front for regular injections on AOT under threat of immediate detention and violent forced administration of same drugs is not a ‘consumer’ of community based psychiatry.

      The primal scream of involuntariness, coercion and institutionalized violence cannot be silenced and sanitized with language synonymous with voluntariness.

      The brain rapists, associated policy wings of the brain rape / coercive apparatus of which NAMI has been a strong part, must shelve the designs they have on other peoples’ bodies, because other peoples’ bodies should not be on the table as something that is accepted to put things in to by force.

      A society that has a system of wholesale violence, putting things into, doing things to, the bodies of the unwilling, is a society in need of a push back.

      Our body, our choice. Non-negotiable.

  8. More than one psychiatrist has pointed out that consumers/peer leaders have become the greatest asset the bio-medical paradigm has…NAMI has a pretty tight reign on my home State’s so-called ‘consumer movement;’ it is only for drug treatment compliant consumers—there is no advocacy for people harmed by the policies NAMI promotes.

  9. I would like to believe that this is a good thing and a ray of hope for things to come. However, many times peers are used if and only if they parrot the sacred mantra of “take your med!” As a peer worker myself I find that I quickly become persona non grata when the other so-called “professionals” find out that I believe in freedom of choice in treatment choices. They only want you around if you are willing to support their biopsychiatric take on things. My training as a peer worker quickly throws me into opposition to the people making decisions for patients at the hospital where I work; it’s almost impossible to function as you were trained to functin because we stand for mutual relationships and freedom of choice. these are not supported by the powers that be. I hope that I’m wrong, but I have the feeling that this womoan is being used because of her status as a well-known peer worker. My mother had an old saying that all of you know. She said, “A leopard doesn’t change its spots.”

  10. Unless, and until, I see NAMI stop its efforts to promote atrocities such as Laura’s Law in California, I won’t believe anything. NAMI has been during many decades nothing more than a front group for Big Pharma lobbying for having everybody in America medicated for some mental issue. It’s hard to believe that they will stop being that out of the blue.

    • Indeed it is hard to believe.

      NAMI is really in essence the ‘National Alliance For Mothers’ Immunity’…

      Having roots in Moms pushing to make it easier to get their kids committed.

      There is no such thing as a bad mother, remember that, or else you get the needle.

      • Correct. My former psychiatrist tricked my ex-wife into going to NAMI meetings. Things began to go South very quickly with her. All that was discussed there is how moms had a hard time in California getting their children committed and getting ways to workaround that (like having the kids’ therapists lie). NAMI is a pathetic pro Big Pharma, pro psychiatric establishment group. I don’t think this appointment will change much. Either they would have Keris Jan Myrick converted to their Big Pharma religion or she will resign from her position once she realizes that change is impossible. I see little hope here.

  11. I have been posting against NAMI lately,

    I didnt know Keris Jan Myrick, a Mad in America blogger, as well as president and CEO of Pasadena-based Project Return Peer Support Network, has been elected president of NAMI by its board of directors.

    I just don’t like NAMI. I read there member posts in online forums “kid needs meds…” compliance…

    Keris Jan Myrick, Good luck and congradulations !

  12. I just dont like NAMI.

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult…

    NAMI is both robber barons and omnipotent moral busybodies.