Erin Raftery Ryan, Executive Director
As the Executive Director, Erin provides a loving and supportive environment that helps nurture the emotional health of the lives of many affected by mental health conditions. Her drive and passion is in bringing people together through support and services. Erin directs the operations at NAMI Westside Los Angeles, which includes education, support, volunteer coordination, peer outreach, collaborative partnerships, fundraising, and advocacy. These efforts lead to improvements in the lives of those affected with mental health conditions and to the family, friends, and others that support them.
Erin has a background in athletics, politics, nonprofit management, and entertainment. She has a degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and is a trained Master Gardener from the Department of Agriculture and the University of California. She is a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition and a recipient of the American Heart Association Teaching Garden Champion Award for Dedication in LA. Erin is also a mother of two daughters who are warriors, and is happily married to a U.S. Army veteran.
Elizabeth Stephens, Program Director
NAMI WLA’s new Program Director, Elizabeth is a UCLA grad who passionate about mental health advocacy and ensuring that the appropriate mental health services are accessible to all. Coming from a place of lived experience, Elizabeth understands first hand the importance of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health and building a community of hope for all of those affected by mental health conditions.
As a part of NAMI WLA’s educational outreach initiatives, Elizabeth teaches peer classes and leads peer support groups that are designed to support adults with mental health conditions as they navigate the barriers they come across in both the mental health care system and society as a whole. As teacher and facilitator, Elizabeth aims to create a space for people with mental health conditions to find both support and resources to engage in self-advocacy and empowerment. Elizabeth also provides a peer perspective as a speaker for NAMI WLA’s Ending the Silence program that aims to educate students about the stigma surrounding mental health conditions and connecting them with appropriate resources.