2024 NAMI NH Annual Awards Recipients

NAMI New Hampshire
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On June 20th, seven remarkable Granite Staters were recognized with 2024 NAMI NH Annual Awards during the NAMI NH Annual Meeting. All of these individuals have gone above and beyond to support folks affected by mental illness and suicide. These awards honor an exemplary group who work hard, dream big, and dedicate themselves day after day to improving the lives of Granite Staters, and their loved ones, affected by mental illness and suicide. 

Hope does, indeed, start with these 2024 NAMI NH Annual Award recipients:

Youth Leadership – Matthew Brown

Matthew is a shining example of advocacy in action – working tirelessly to promote eating disorders awareness and education. At age 14, he first asked his state representative to sponsor legislation that would put an eating disorder helpline on the back of all NH student ID cards.  In the time that has followed, Matthew has organized meetings, attended hearings, shared his story time and again, and answered tough questions in front of the legislature.  On June 14, 2024, the Matthew Brown Act was signed into law by Governor Sununu – thanks in large part to Matthew’s dedication, commitment, and vision.

Justice System Leader – Captain Dave Terlemezian

Captain Terlemezian is a steadfast champion for mental health in the law enforcement community – his perseverance was integral in expanding Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training beyond NH State Police to include local departments throughout the state, of all sizes and budgets. Captain Terlemezian is a true leader, working alongside NAMI NH to improve outcomes for justice involved individuals, their families, and the law enforcement community.

Volunteer of the Year – Sharon Stout

Sharon is a dedicated longtime NAMI NH volunteer – working proactively in the Monadnock Region to provide support to those with a loved one with mental illness and bring awareness of NAMI NH resources and programs. She consistently goes above and beyond – as a Family-to-Family teacher, facilitator of a family support group, resource table volunteer, and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program role player. There is no doubt the Granite State is a better place because of amazing and dedicated volunteers like Sharon Stout.

Legislator of the Year – Senator Debra Altschiller

Senator Debra Altschiller is a longstanding advocate for mental health, offering unwavering support of policies to prevent suicide and protect LGBTQ+ individuals. She is a dedicated member of NAMI NH’s Public Policy Committee and a legislative member of the Suicide Prevention Council – NAMI NH is grateful for her advocacy in support of Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide.

Peer Support Professional – Ken Lewis

Ken has been a well-respected voice for peers in New Hampshire for two decades – from volunteering at a drop-in center to eventually helping to found and direct HEARTS Peer Support. He embodies the concept of “nothing about us without us” and works diligently to always include the voices of lived experience – the mental health community and peers throughout the state are fortunate to have Ken’s fierce advocacy in support of peers.

Mental Health Supporter – Rose Verderame

Rose has been part of the Individual Placement Services – Supported Employment Team at the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester for over five years – during this time, she has had a tremendous impact on the individuals she supports, their employers, and the entire community. NAMI NH is thankful that Rose has chosen this work, and that she strives every day to make a difference for individuals with mental illness.

Systems Transformation Leader – Catalina Kirsch

Catalina wears many hats in her role at the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health – including coordinating the Carroll County Implementation Team under NAMI NH’s Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. She has helped to drive systems change by bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders and providing them with opportunities for growth and collaboration – NAMI NH is glad for her partnership and dedication to Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide.