Ray Charles Lay

Ray Charles Lay, CHW/CRS

NAMI Board of Directors

Ray Charles Lay has been a member of the NAMI Board of Directors since 2021 and is the CEO of SMI Enterprises in Indianapolis. He is a member of NAMI Greater Indianapolis.

Ray first learned about NAMI from a connection who served as a NAMI In Our Own Voice coordinator. He went on to give NAMI In Our Own Voice presentations of his own. Through his affiliation with NAMI, he hopes to reduce stigma and reform criminal justice involvement for people with mental health issues.

After years of homelessness, incarceration and hospitalization, Ray is in recovery from living with schizophrenia for over 50 years. He is a homeowner and business owner, works with fellow veterans and the courts and trains correction and police officers on mental health issues. In 2015, Ray was recognized and received the NAMI Indiana Mary Wheaton Award for being a person with a mental health condition teaching others with a mental health condition.

In 2017, he received the Diamond Service Award for overcoming homelessness and giving back to the community. Ray also received the Community Champion Award from the Corporation for Supportive Housing in 2018 and 2021. Also a member of the American Legion and National Association of Peer Supporters, Ray hopes people with mental health conditions be treated as just people.

For the 2022-2023 Board year, he serves on the Justice Systems, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion committee, Public Policy Workgroup and Youth and Young Adults Mental Health Outreach Workgroup.

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