Board of Directors
President, Board of Directors
Chris Hansen is currently President of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. She joined the board in 2017.
A New Zealander by birth, Chris Hansen is the Director of Intentional Peer Support, and has been co-teaching and developing Intentional Peer Support in the United States and in other countries with Shery Mead for the past 11 years.
Chris has spent 20 years involved in local, regional, national and international peer support and advocacy initiatives, and in mental health sector planning and politics from a service user perspective. Other roles have included clinical and management roles in both inpatient and outpatient mental health services, leadership within NZ’s award-winning anti-discrimination campaign, research for the NZ Mental Health Commission, and involvement in the development of the NZ national mental health strategic plan and workforce development strategy.
Chris was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the United Nations for the development of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; has served on the board of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and has played a key role in the development of a number of peer-run crisis alternatives.
Vice President, Board of Directors
Martha Roberts is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. She first joined the Board in 1998. She has served as Board Secretary and President.
She served for 12 years, from 2000 – 2012, as an original member and co-facilitator of the State Program Standing Committee for Adult Mental Health, and as such she received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2008. She was a member of the work group that developed Alyssum, a peer-run crisis respite, and serves on the Alyssum Board. She also serves as President of the Board of the Vermont Center for Independent Living and a member of the Steering Committee of the Vermont Coalition of Disability Rights. She is a member of Vermont Interfaith Action, involved in their “End Homelessness in Washington County by 2020” campaign, the Montpelier ADA Committee and the Social Justice Committee of her church.
In 1998 she was certified as a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan, a wellness program) facilitator, and since then has co-facilitated WRAP workshops in the community, in provider agencies and at the Vermont State Hospital. She mentors new WRAP facilitators and is one of two Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators in Vermont.
After college, she worked with learning and emotionally challenged elementary and high school students, taught women’s history and women’s literature at Community College of Vermont, tutored math and GED skills.
Marty holds a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College, where she studied child development and education. After her work at Goddard, she joined the National Teacher Corps, a program providing educational support to disadvantaged children, as a part of her graduate program at the University of Vermont.
She has a strong interest in writing, which she employs in her community activities.
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Zachary Hughes is currently Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. He joined the Board in 2015. He co-supervises two, peer programs at Washington County Mental Health and runs a volunteer-based non-profit that promotes peer services.
Originally from Texas, he has lived for the last 30 years in Central Vermont.
He is passionate about and regularly consults on cases about ADA/ADAA issues, service animals/emotional support animal issues.
In his free time Zack likes to take pictures, read, write, watch documentaries, and travel.
Robert Dyer, Jr.
Secretary, Board of Directors
Robert Dyer, Jr. is Secretary of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. He joined the Board in 2016. Bert runs the Hearing Voices Group at Pathways Vermont Community Center, which he helped create, and also works at the Vermont Support Line as a Support Line Operator.
Bert is trained in Intentional Peer Support and in Non-Aggressive Psychological and Physical Intervention. He is also a trained facilitator for Hearing Voices groups and Alternatives to Suicide groups.
In college, he helped to create a chapter of Active Minds. Active Minds is a nonprofit organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health to educate others and encourage help-seeking.
Bert holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Vermont from which he graduated in 2014.
Member, Board of Directors
Shery Mead is a member of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. She re-joined the Board in 2017. She has been developing and teaching intentional trauma informed peer support since 1995. She is the owner of Shery Mead Consulting and has done extensive speaking and training, nationally and internationally, on the topics of alternative approaches to crisis, trauma informed peer services, systems change, and the development and implementation of peer operated services. Her publications include academic articles, training manuals and a book co-authored with Mary Ellen Copeland, Wellness Recovery Action Planning and Peer Support.
Shery holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Vermont.
Member, Board of Directors
Whitney Nichols is a member of the Board of Directors of Vermont Psychiatric Survivors. He is an advocate for those experiencing homelessness. He was also part of the coalition that successfully changed the law to allow Medicaid for persons with disabilities after retirement age.
He has been a teacher and consultant in various public and private school sectors.
He is a 1969 graduate of Marlboro College.