Raphaelle Richardson currently serves as the Director of Consumer and Family Affairs Administration at the DC Department of Behavioral Health (DBH). In her current role Ms. Richardson strives to engage consumers, family members and young adults, as partners in wellness, resiliency and recovery in a manner that inclusive, trauma-informed and consistent with best practices. She is responsible for leadership and direction in planning, developing and coordinating ways to promote the involvement of consumers across the Behavioral Health System. Ms. Richardson oversees the peer support certification program; protection of consumer legal and civil rights; initiatives that build awareness among community members and providers; and projects to monitor consumer satisfaction and perceived quality of care to improve behavioral health services for the more than 22,000 adults, children and youth DBH serves each year.
Her areas of expertise include sustainability of organizations, development of youth-driven models, leadership training and development of adult peer advocates. Since 2005, Ms. Richardson has mentored inner city youth and peer advocates with mental health challenges, while providing leadership and direction to Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health, Shelby County Division of Community Services, University of Maryland TAN Network and community mental health agencies.
Over the past 13 years, Ms. Richardson has impacted well over 20,000 young adults across the United States, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa through her work as a Founding Board Member and Staff Member of Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (MOVE) National. She has served on several boards addressing mental health issues, positive youth development and inclusion of faith-based organizations, including a governor appointment to the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership. Her experience in systems change, partnerships, leadership development and sustainability of organizations were instrumental in both the planning and execution of the 2014 Georgetown University Training Institutes, a national Youth Leadership Academy curriculum, in partnership with Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development; and author of SAMHSA-funded Rocking Your Youth MOVEment: A Guide to RockStar Sustainability.
Some of her most recent projects include the design, development and implementation of recovery events such as the Purple Wave Festival, reaching over 1,000 individuals with 70+ vendors. Additionally, programs such as the DC Peer Academy aim to build the capacity of peer-run organizations and establish a peer-operated learning platform to strengthen behavioral health consumers, providers and community members.
Ms. Richardson’s unique ability to activate her faith and think strategically have afforded her an invitation to the White House, deliver a keynote addressing mental health on the floor of the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, and work with celebrities such as Dwayne Wade and Common. Past experience as an Executive Director and Co-Founder of a multi-million dollar center and Director of a statewide organization have provided Ms. Richardson with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies that exist between consumers, programming and organizational development.
Ms. Richardson obtained her BA in Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana and currently works toward obtaining her Master’s in Business Administration. Ms. Richardson’s life mission is to make certain that consumers, family members and young adults are afforded the opportunity to grow beyond their current circumstance.