Brittany Shipley

Brittany Shipley worked as NAMI program director for two years before being appointed unanimously by the nonprofit board to fill the role of executive director.

Brittany Shipley was recently appointed to fill the role of executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of the Wood River Valley. She has a degree in social work from Boise State University and for the past two years she has served as the NAMI-WRV programs director.

Before working for NAMI, Shipley was elected by the governor of Idaho to participate in the nationwide Partners in Policymaking program, gaining experience in the field of advocacy and policy work. She fulfilled the practicum requirement for her bachelor’s degree while training under Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who has a master’s degree in social work.

Shipley has served as McCleary’s representative on the 5B Suicide Prevention Committee.

“My time with Angenie helped me make many of the connections I have today that will help me be successful,” Shipley said. “I learned how to effectively navigate systems and coordinate with governmental agencies. We attended a lot of state and regional meetings together.”

Shipley has testified at the Idaho House of Representatives and Senate for Medicaid expansion and for the rights of caretakers of those with disabilities. She has two children with disabilities.

Over the last two years Shipley has worked with more than 50 families in Blaine County to assist them with access to Medicaid-based disability and mental health services.

“Most Medicaid denials are actually due to errors,” Shipley said. “It is essential to appeal the decision if you have been denied.”

In her new position, Shipley will oversee multiple programs for youth, adults and families affected by mental illness. She said she also sees her position as an advocate as essential to NAMI’s success in the community.

“I intend to primarily foster the community through relationships and by coordinating with organizations that already exist. I would like to see more support for adults to the levels that our Bluebirds (student support program) have reached. And I can’t do it alone.”

Shipley said NAMI has good working relationships with local law enforcement and the Blaine County School District, and numerous nonprofits geared toward mental health and wellness, including the Crisis Hotline, the 5B Suicide Prevention Alliance, St Luke’s Center for Community Health and Swiftsure Ranch.

To learn more about NAMI-WRV go to https://namiwrv.org.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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