Betsy Smith, elected to NAMI's Board of Directors in June 2000, is a graduate of Vassar College and the author of numerous non-fiction books for Young Adult readers (ages 12-18). Her long involvement with NAMI began several years after her daughter was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
In the early 1990's she founded and was President of a small local affiliate in rural northwest Connecticut. In the late 1990's she served a two-year term as President of NAMI Connecticut. During her term, NAMI-CT increased its funding and more than doubled its membership. Also, it began an ultimately successful push to increase the number of Jail Diversion programs throughout the state.
In addition to her work for NAMI, Betsy has served as her town's representative to her local mental health planning council, including three years as its President. She has also served as a member of Connecticut's State Planning Council, a member of the statewide Task Force on Seclusion & Restraints, a member of the board of Prime Time House, a clubhouse modeled after Fountain House, and a board member of PLAN of Connecticut. Currently, she serves as a Governor's Appointee on Connecticut's State Board of Mental Health & Addiction Services and is a new board member of the Greenwoods Counseling Center in Litchfield, CT. Yet, NAMI has always been Betsy's primary passion. For the past two years she has served as Chair of the Development Committee and a member of the Governance, Personnel, and State Relations committees. In addition, she is President of NAMI's foundation, NASF.
Betsy and her husband, Carter, live in the tiny town of Sharon, Connecticut. In addition to their daughter, they have two sons and three granddaughters. A fourth grandchild is due in January 2003.