I would like to take this opportunity to write about Jenna Mehnert, CEO of NAMI Maine (the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and her tireless efforts to transform an organization fraught with financial and legal challenges into a successful and well respected mental health advocacy agency.

I joined the NAMI Maine board in 2013, shortly after Ms. Mehnert was hired as the new CEO. My term on the board expired at the end of 2020, and in those seven years as vice president and then president, I experienced firsthand Ms. Mehnert’s ability to effectively lead NAMI Maine and work collaboratively with the board.

Her vision and guidance on programming, education and policy significantly expanded and strengthened NAMI Maine’s ability to provide support, advocacy and education to Mainers struggling with mental health challenges. It was clear she was a strong, committed leader and well respected in the Legislature and communities across the state. Under her leadership, NAMI Maine has become the “go to” mental health advocacy agency in Maine.

Ms. Mehnert was also dedicated to improving her leadership and administration skills by attending graduate courses and seminars, including an 18-month John T. Gorman Fellowship.

I found Ms. Mehnert to be an effective educator and mentor and incredibly passionate in her commitment to helping others. I was honored and proud to be a board member working in collaboration with Ms. Mehnert, the staff and the NAMI Maine community.

Robert Reed
Cape Neddick

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