NAMI North Carolina Announces New Executive Director

RALEIGH, NC – The Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina (NAMI NC), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness, proudly announces the appointment of Dr. Garry Crites as NAMI NC’s new Executive Director after an extensive search. He is succeeding Deby Dihoff, the current Executive Director who will be retiring effective September 6, 2019.

“The Board set out to find a leader who could not only build upon our successful programs but also has the insights to manage in a complex mental health environment in need of change,” said David A. Smith, President of NAMI NC’s Board of Directors. Garry has had a broad career in nonprofit work. This work spans serving large to mid-size congregations as a lead pastor to extensive program management experience with Duke University. As the director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), he ran one of the largest and fastest-growing outreach programs at Duke. His interest in mental health is also a personal one.

“I know firsthand the pain and loneliness of having family members who are struggling with significant mental illness,” said Garry. “We must continue in our efforts to reduce stigma and improve the lives of those affected by mental illness. I am very excited to join the outstanding team of staff and volunteers with NAMI North Carolina and its affiliates as they make a real difference in our communities.”

“We are very grateful to Deby for her outstanding leadership and are fortunate that Garry has taken on this role going forward,” says Smith. “Garry has a proven management record and rose to the top of a deep pool of highly-qualified candidates. His experience and empathy are exactly what is needed as NAMI NC looks to continue to make a difference in the lives of those affected by mental illness across North Carolina.”

Garry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Defiance College in Ohio in Communications Arts, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Duke. Most recently he was Director of Program Operations at the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) at Duke, which offers supplemental enrichment programs for academically talented students (grades 4-12).

NAMI North Carolina and its affiliates provide free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. It is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. For more information on our programs, advocacy efforts, and 24 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at The NAMI NC Helpline can be reached at (800) 451-9682.