National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Image Dave Lushbaugh

Dave Lushbaugh was nominated by NAMI Georgia.  View the nomination letter from NAMI Georgia. (pdf, opens in new window)

Each board candidate was asked to answer several questions relating to NAMI and the experience they bring to the board.  Each candidate was limited to 300 words for each answer.  Read Daves's answers below:

NAMI Self-Identification Statement

Married, 3 adult children - the oldest a 32 year old son diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1995.  10 year NAMI family member/leader with exposure to arduous public/private mental health systems, treatments, research trials, stigma/education, employment, housing, advocacy/legislative action and forensics.  Management employee of a non health related large corporation.

Why do you want to serve on the NAMI National board of directors? 

NAMI support and education helped me to turn my grief and frustration into hope and constructive action.

Having demonstrated positive results in significant areas of our NAMI mission over the past 10 years as a family member, affiliate and state president, I would like the opportunity to do more.

My involvement includes earning the confidence of and building a coalition of state senior mental health, department of education and law enforcement officials, pertinent advocacy organizations, mental health professionals, legislative, judiciary, civic, faith-based and business leaders, consumer and family member advocates.

This resulted in support for:

  • restoring our NAMI state office to the best financial position in its history,
  • recruitment and direction of personnel to lead a top 2005 fall inaugural NAMI Walk,
  • development and production of an effective NAMI State web site,
  • the successful collaboration of local community and statewide resources to develop and implement a leading Memphis model, statewide CIT program – resulting in training over 500 officers the first year and now having obtained the resources to reach our goal of training 3,000 statewide. Thus, improving the opportunity for recovery based treatment and reducing stigma through increased education and understanding.

We can achieve increased membership and affiliate growth, awareness and implementation of Family To Family, Visions, Peer To Peer and CIT through well planned and executed combined affiliate/state events.

Most people want to do the right thing.   Science has proven that serious mental illnesses are treatable diseases like any other, we now must provide and maintain local community and state programs that are supported by research (family and consumer voices) and that when proven will demonstrate to all "that investment in appropriate treatment" provides cost effective human recovery results.   The tools are now available, with leadership emphasis; we can do this.

What financial management or fund raising expertise would you bring to the Board?

  • Have demonstrated that people who have control of or have money want to give it if they believe it will get results and make a positive difference.
  • Gained financial support for NAMI from multiple State Government, Corporate, Foundation and Individual entities.
  • Considerable technical presentation, scheduling and creative experience as my Fortune 100 Company’s manager of Training Support Services and Promotional Products.
  • Through personal communication, have been influential in numerous other people’s significant United Way personal designation to NAMI.
  • Recruited the personnel, directed and was a principal in the most financially successful NAMI National inaugural Fall 2005 Walk in the USA.
  • Presided over and a principal in restoring our NAMI State Office from near bankruptcy to its best financial position in its history.
  • Gained contributions and participated in the NAMI Auction.
  • Currently employed by a Fortune 100 Company for 25+ years and manage 2 departments: one a P & L operation with $6,000,000 in expenditures/costs.
  • Principal in NAMI Georgia’ successful Food For Thought fund raiser awareness event for 5 years and Just Jazz fund raiser.
  • My wife Linda and I have made corporate matched financial and time contributions to NAMI and have influenced many other contributions.  Donation of 2 vehicles through the NAMI program.


What is the most pressing public policy issue facing NAMI members today?  What course of action do you suggest?

Stigma and lack of knowledge remain the major root cause of people not accepting treatment and the general public’s lack of understanding of the problem, resulting in inadequate resources for recovery based treatment.

Proposal:   Development of a blockbuster presentation of our story showing how SMI impacts everyone in society, and that treatment works; and can be cost effective.   Train local/regional/national NAMI teams to present it, and get on the annual agenda of every state and national County Commissioners, Law Enforcement, Judiciary, Legal, Department of Education, Legislative, Mayors, Media, Governors, Corporate, Civic and Faith based organization in the Country.  In addition, the presentation will be a membership growth tool and a terrific morale booster for all our current members.

What brought you to NAMI -- and what is most valuable to you about your participation in the NAMI movement?

Ten years ago, my then 22 year old college student came home in the middle of night talking irrationally.  We had no idea what was happening.  We wound up in the street, with our neighbors of 15 years surrounding him, trying to convince him to let us take him to a doctor.   He would not go; a neighbor got his car keys, so he could not leave. The police were called and then a trip, I’ll never forget, (nor will you forget) to the state mental hospital.

A neighbor had the phone number of someone at an organization called NAMI.  I called and began learning about serious mental illnesses. Later, my treasured son was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.  I believe that with enough educated, enlightened, organized team effort we can dramatically "improve the lives of all those affected by serious mental illnesses."

NAMI has given me much peace from what was, for me, incomprehensible grief and turned it into positive action for improvement.  In the 1950’s my Grandmother used to say.  "Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but gets you no where."  Providing service to others will ultimately result in service to us all.

What is the most pressing internal or organizational issue facing NAMI today?  What course of action do you suggest?

By recognizing, acknowledging and combining each others strengths and weaknesses we will reach our full potential to accomplish our NAMI mission.  With knowledgeable intellectual honesty, we must demonstrate, as individuals, when to lead or follow.

We must educate ourselves to participate in "prudent risk taking" to advance and help our loved ones, each other and ultimately all of society to implement the solutions to recovery that we already know work and support development of new future methods.

Exposure to all states/affiliates’ best practices is needed, while understanding and maintaining sensitivity to liability.  Reduce reinventing the wheel through affiliate/regional training, communications, more effective web membership and expanding harnessing the power of the web, administrative procedures, software awareness and delineation of voluminous email communication through the use of web forums, etc.

"I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one person must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced; they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts people of low morality."   Quoted from: Albert Einstein (1879-1955), whose Special Theory of Relativity was published 100 years ago, had two sons with his wife, Mileva.  Hans (1904-73), a hydraulics engineer and professor at the University of California at Berkeley, was noted for his research on river sediment and tidal flows.  His younger brother, Eduard (1910-65) planned to study medicine but was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 20 and was cared for by his mother until her death in 1948.  He spent the remainder of his life in a psychiatric institution.

Let us support our NAMI leaders who stand for the integrity of our mission.