For nearly a decade, Kelechi has worked in the California mental health system in the areas of research and advocacy, community engagement, stigma reduction, and peer support. She began her career as an investigative reporter in New York City, and was the first student-reporter ever published in The New York Times.
After witnessing the impact of trauma and mental health issues on the people she was writing about, she decided to change her focus to providing direct mental health support. She relocated to California and started working at PEERS, a consumer-run mental health nonprofit. At PEERS, Kelechi supervised mental health programs, led communication operations, and partnered with Dr. Patrick Corrigan, on a project which provided mental health recovery story-telling trainings across 41 California counties. She also managed a Columbia University research project examining mental health stigma in the Chinese community with Dr. Lawrence Yang.
Kelechi transitioned to research and evaluation work at Resource Development Associates where she was a senior project manager, wrote grants, and conducted community-based participatory research spanning the fields of mental health, child welfare, education, and criminal justice.
A popular keynote speaker, Kelechi worked at CalMHSA as the Statewide Peer and Community Engagement Manager for a large technology project to bring digital mental health solutions to California counties. At CalMHSA, she conducted community outreach and engagement and facilitated listening sessions with over 250 stakeholders to develop digital mental health literacy programming. Kelechi also has a large body of work in suicide prevention, and published the book We’ve Been Too Patient in 2019.
Currently, Kelechi is a consultant working with clients dedicated to transforming mental health, substance use services, as well as justice system reform and workforce development. Her areas of specialty are training, workshop delivery and design, meeting and retreat facilitation, planning and research, curriculum development, and community engagement.
Kelechi has had the pleasure of working with numerous public and nonprofit agencies. Below are examples of agencies she has worked with during her career:
- Alpine Behavioral Health
- California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations
- California’s Black Women’s Health Project
- California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions
- California Pan Ethnic Health Network
- City of Berkeley Mental Health Division
- City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Services
- Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services
- Family Education Resource Center
- Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
- Kings County Behavioral Health
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
- Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
- Mental Health Association of San Francisco
- Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network
- Modoc County Behavioral Health
- Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies
- Oakland Human Services
- Orange County Health Care Agency
- Riverside University Health System Behavioral Health
- San Francisco Department of Public Health
- Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness
- Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Department
- Santa Clara County Housing Authority
- San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
- Sierra Health Foundation
- The Social Changery
- Tehama County Health Services Agency Behavioral Health
- Tri-City Mental Health
- Yolo Health and Human Services Agency