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Mental illness nonprofit names new leader

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The southwest Missouri chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a new executive director coming into the role this summer.

At the end of June, Stephanie Appleby is slated to be promoted to the top job. She’ll succeed Debora Biggs, who’s retiring after four years with the nonprofit, according to a news release.

“I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with Stephanie my entire time here at NAMI SWMO. She will do a fantastic job leading the organization into the future,” Biggs said in the release.

As executive director, Appleby will lead a staff of four employees and head up the nonprofit’s $250,000 budget, said Neil Frost, board president for the nonprofit.

Appleby has experience with mental illness, having previously been diagnosed with anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia. She was homebound for 14 years and was able to recover through therapy and medication. She started out at NAMI SWMO in 2012 as a fundraising event volunteer, joining the staff full time in December 2014 as its marketing director, according to the release.

Appleby’s work at the nonprofit led to the It Knows No Face suicide awareness campaign in partnership with photographer Randy Bacon, approval of a fundraising walk event by the national NAMI nonprofit and the relocation of NAMI Neon Run to Rutledge-Wilson Farm.

NAMI SWMO has provided programs, services and advocacy for individuals and families impacted by mental illnesses, at no cost to them, for the past 30 years, according to the release.

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