Senior Manager, Criminal Justice and Advocacy
Advocacy and Public Policy
Laura Usher partners with leaders in the criminal justice system to advance NAMI’s criminal justice priorities, including reforms to policing and jails. In her 11 years at NAMI, Laura has promoted crisis intervention team (CIT) programs, written public policy reports, worked with state and federal advocacy teams and become an expert on police officer mental health.
Laura enjoys sharing the personal stories behind the advocacy priorities we fight for, and enjoys even more helping people tell their own stories. She has a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
What piece of your work at NAMI are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the guide to police officer mental health: Preparing for the Unimaginable: How Chiefs Can Safeguard Officer Mental Health Before and After Mass Casualty Events. Working on the guide was a deeply emotional high-wire act, as I asked police chiefs to relive the worst crises of their careers. We then fashioned their experiences into recommendations for other chiefs. I’m so proud of the people I worked with, their courage and what we accomplished together.
Who inspires you?
NAMI’s grassroots leaders inspire me! Every one of them takes their struggles and challenges and turns them into love and care for others. Their determination and resourcefulness is what keeps me going on the hardest days.