Chacku Mathai to Head NAMI Star Center National TA Center; Next Thurs Eve Farewell Reception

NYAPRS Note: After 13 years of providing outstanding, transformative support to recovery movements and systems across New York State and nationally, Chacku Mathai will be moving from NYAPRS to head up a SAMHSA funded national TA center aimed at meeting the needs of underserved communities.

Chacku’s contributions have touched so many so deeply here at NYAPRS and across the state and country. While we’ll be offering more about that in a coming post, we did want to offer Chacku’s NYS friends and colleagues with the opportunity to wish him well at a farewell dinner we’ll be hosting next Thursday night (November 21st) at 5:00 pm at the site of our PROS Academy at the Holiday Inn Turf on Wolf Road in Albany.

Please RSVP to us at

Sorry for the last minute nature of this invitation: the federal government shutdown delayed the finalization but not the timeline of Chacku’s moving to his new post.

Hope to see you all next week.

Here’s NAMI’s announcement.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Chacku Mathai, CPRP, as the Director for the STAR Center, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) funded national technical assistance and resource center dedicated to meeting the needs of underserved communities across the country and in specific states and territories, including Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, Rhode Island and New Mexico. Chacku joins the NAMI staff effective December 1.

Chacku served for thirteen years as the Associate Executive Director for New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), where he led nationally recognized, statewide campaigns and initiatives in peer services, recovery-oriented systems and services transformation, cultural competence, employment and economic self-sufficiency in both mental health and addiction recovery communities and systems. Chacku was also a key implementation partner for the New York State Center of Excellence for the Integration of Care (CEIC), the SAMHSA Northeast Addiction Technology Transfer Network (NE-C ATTC), the SAMHSA Recovery to Practice Resource Center for Behavioral Health Professionals and the SAMHSA Bringing Recovery Supports To Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS-TACS).

Chacku is a nationally recognized thought leader whose strengths in relationship and capacity building, leadership and management offer the depth and breadth of perspective needed by peer-run organizations across the country. His experience and expertise in supporting people, systems and communities will provide the STAR Center the ability to offer a higher level of concrete and targeted support, technical assistance and resources.  

His personal experiences as a youth and young adult in mental health and addiction services in New York launched Chacku and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services and alternative supports in the community.

Please join us in welcoming Chacku to his new role!

The STAR Center provides support, technical assistance and resources to assist consumer-operated and consumer-supporter programs in meeting the needs of under-served populations. Specifically, the STAR Center’s focus areas are cultural competence and diversity in the context of mental health recovery and consumer self-help and self-empowerment. In addition to serving as a national technical assistance center, the STAR Center provides targeted assistance in Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, New Mexico and Puerto Rico.