Alexa James, a licensed clinical social worker, has devoted her professional life to serving people living with mental illnesses. In 2013, Alexa assumed the leadership of NAMI Chicago as Executive Director. NAMI Chicago is the largest mental health advocacy agency in Chicago and supports those impacted by mental illness. For over 11 years, NAMI Chicago has advocated for Police to be equipped with additional tools that support Chicago citizens who are experiencing a mental health crisis. NAMI Chicago was instrumental in engaging the Chicago Police Department with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. CIT training is a 40-hour, best practice curriculum that provides law enforcement with the understanding and skills essential to support those living with mental illness, and to facilitate treatment of those active in their illness. NAMI Chicago has tirelessly advocated for additional support and increased trainings for Chicago Police officers.
In the 10 years preceding her appointment as Executive Director, Alexa worked with children and adults living with mental illness as well as those impacted by poverty and trauma. She earned her Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Loyola University and in Child Development from Erickson Institute. Alexa’s passion is to see that our community is equipped to support those in need of mental health support and to end the crippling stigma that attaches to those living with mental illness.