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Emily Exley-Berry | OCA Director

Emily grew up in rural Iowa and attended Kaplan University where she received her bachelor’s in human services. Her professional background includes working in customer service, working as a CNA in a nursing home facility, youth emergency services, and working with adults with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.

Emily’s mental health experience is both personal and professional. She is a person with lived experience with mental illness and has many close family members with mental illness. She has volunteered for the last couple of years with NAMI and is a certified NAMI Basics teacher and a Family Support Group Facilitator. She is also a Peer Support Specialist.

The reason that Emily got involved in mental health was because of her son. While he was in crisis in a rural hospital, she realized many things. During the 40 hours that they spent in the ER room waiting to get a higher level of services they had contact with half a dozen different organizations and easily a dozen or two different people from those organizations. Over the years she already had come to know that there was a lack of services and resources but during this time Emily really started to learn that some people have the passion and compassion to be in the mental health field and some don’t. She learned a lot about herself and that she had the passion, compassion and the true understanding of how it feels to be in that situation and wanted to help others who are in a similar situation. The system and the resources are not set up right now to work how we need them to but if we run into people along the way who help and care it really does make a hard situation the best it can be.