845-473-2500 253 Mansion St Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

About Us

From mental illness to mental wellness… how can we help you get there?

When you’re struggling with your own mind, even getting through the day can be difficult. The biggest issues sometimes aren’t even your mental illness itself… it’s dealing with the world around you.

Stigma makes everything harder, of course. Then comes finances, job, family… life can get complicated pretty quickly, regardless of whether you’re suffering yourself or supporting someone who is.

Mental Health America of Dutchess County is  a nonprofit organization dedicated to making sure nobody gets left behind in our community due to lack of mental health services. Our staff and volunteers work day and night to:

strengthen families
overcome fear
help people dealing with anxiety
link individuals to the supports they need
provide safe spaces to heal
break down stigma
...and much, much more.

Our Goal

We’re working to create a world where anyone can get access to the full spectrum of mental health services they need, without jumping through unnecessary hoops.

We believe mental wellness benefits the whole community! That’s why we honor these beliefs:


It’s hard to heal without support from someone you trust. That’s why we offer you a safe space, respect your confidence, and work hard to earn your trust.


To have dignity is to be worthy of honor or respect. We envision a society where every individual is treated with dignity regardless of where you came from or your current situation.


Everybody’s got a story to tell, and we’re here to support you in yours. We’re ready to listen to your situation, and deliver you the complete and unique care you need.

At the end of the day, all of this is just words. The people who are delivering you the care is where the magic really lies. So we wanted to introduce you to some of our most committed staff and volunteers:

Meet Our Team

Andrew O'Grady LCSW-R, Executive Director
I am the Executive Director at MHA for the past four years. I came to MHA 17 years ago to transition the case management services form Dutchess County to MHA. I have never thought of moving on as this agency does so much meaningful and important work. As a social worker, doing behavioral health and administration throughout my career, I am proud to lead this agency.
Lydia Edelhaus, Director of Family Support and Advocacy
"I am the Director of Family Support and Advocacy Services, the department at MHA serving families that have been affected in some way by mental illness. I have been here for 19 years, beginning as the part-time Coordinator of the Family Support program. Every day, I work with engaged and passionately committed colleagues in an atmosphere of compassion and respect, and I am happy and proud to come to work each morning."
Maureen Axtmann
I am the Assistant to the Executive Director, and am proud to say that I have worked at MHA for 33 years. Working closely with the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, staff and clients has been a fulfilling and meaningful career. There is no better agency than MHA!
Lisa Connolly Psy. D, LMHC., Division Director of Adult Services
"I am Dr. Lisa Connolly, the Division Director of Adult Services. I have been with the agency for 16 years. I oversee our Care Management program, Mel's Place, which is our homeless program, and our PROS clinical services. This was a career choice for me after my first day and I could not be happier or more fulfilled with my decision. "
Jennifer Nelson, Director of Finance & Human Resources
"As Director of Finance & Human Resources I oversee all aspects of financial and personnel matters at MHA. In the ever changing behavioral health landscape, my team and I meet all challenges with openness and dedication. I have been employed by MHA for 26 years and am happy to be part of something that is vital to the community. The Agency’s integrity is of the utmost importance to me."
Janet Caruso, Director of Community Education
I run the MHA Library and supervise the Supported Education and Community Education programs. I link people in need of services to a variety of resources so they can investigate them to see what is a good fit. Overseeing educational programs is rewarding when I hear of people reaching their goals as they rebuild their lives. I enjoy working with my colleagues both here at MHA and with staff from other human service agencies as we collaborate on events.
Adam Roche
I’m Adam Roche; I am the program manager of MHA Vet2Vet veterans’ peer services. I’ve been working for MHA dutchess for less then a year and feel blessed to work with so many amazing hardworking people that truly care about their clients. I look forward to continuing my career with MHA dutchess.
Alyssa Amendola
My name is Alyssa Amendola and I am a Supportive Care Manager here at Mental Health America. Being given the opportunity to work for MHA has been and continues to be a life-changing experience. I truly enjoy the process of developing working relationships with clients so that together we can work toward the goals they set for themselves. Everyday MHA provides me with endless opportunities to learn, to teach, and to experience empathy; for this I am truly grateful.
Desiree King, CASA and Compeer Program Manager
Desiree S. King, Program Manager for Compeer and CASA- Court Appointed Special Advocates at Mental Health America of Dutchess County. I began my career 9 years ago as the Teen Challenge Coordinator. I am proud to be an advocate in our communities and ensure that the best interest for children and families are being served.
Dinesa Johnson
Hi it is Dinesa I been at MGS of Dutchess. Co. for 12 years, and is an SCM for Beacon and having clients all over other than just Beacon, so I am well rounded with what we do. I have been in the mental health field for close to 28 years working with other agencies in the Dutchess. Co. Area I Love my job helping those who cannot help themselves at times. and always excited about learning new things in the system. To be an assistance to others.
Gerald Dieterich, Database Administrator
I have always enjoyed working with technology. At a young age, I became fascinated with computers: I had to know how they worked. Just over 3 years ago, I found MHA. It was like finding long-lost family. I have never worked with more caring and compassionate individuals and I get to do something I love. I am grateful to be able to do what I love for an agency that does so many positive things for the community.
Juliann Simpson, Respite Program Manager
My name is Julie Simpson and I am the Respite Program Manager at Mental Health America of Dutchess County. I oversee hourly respite services, recreational respite, camp scholarships, the Teen Challenge Clubhouse Program, and the Young Adult Transition Program. Working with children and families has always been a big part of my life. It is who I am, it is my passion. I had my humble beginnings with MHA in 1995, when I joined the Respite Program team. The Respite Program was in its beginning stages, and seeing it grow to include our teen program, and now our young adult program has been very exciting. Over the years, my work has enabled me to be part of the lives of many special individuals, who received support services from MHA. I count it a privilege being a part of the families in Dutchess County and overseeing such a dedicated team that provide the direct services to those we serve. For me, my work is part of my ministry for this season in my life, and for this I am grateful.
Kathryn Weaver, Supported Education
I have been with MHA for 8 years. I am the Program Specialist for the Sibling Support groups. I have held that position since August 2015. Prior to that, I ran The Kid’s Inc. program, along with providing one-on-one respite. I am also the Supported Education Coordinator, working with referred ACCES/VR students attending Dutchess Community College.
Kayla Wade
Hi my name is Kayla Wade, and I am a Generic Care Manager for Mental Health America. On a daily basis I get to work with inspiring and great clients. I also get to work together with my great co-workers to do our best to help our clients. The best part about MHA is the teamwork that our team has. If one care manager needs help or has a question, there is always someone there to help. Both my clients and my co-workers make coming to MHA every day something I look forward to.
Kristi Howard, LMSW, PROS Team Leader
I, Kristi Howard LMSW, started my career with MHA as a social work intern with the Case Management department in 2009. That is when I found my passion for working with adults in recovery from severe and persistent mental illness. I became the Team Leader at our Beacon Wellness Center PROS program just over two years ago. It brings me much joy to support our participants as they endeavor to advance their life situations.
Laura Fonseca
My name is Laura Fonseca and I've been a Care Manager for over 10 years at MHA. It has been a pleasure being a positive contributor in the lives of so many amazing people who are each on their unique journey. Being a part of the outstanding MHA team and interacting with the exceptional service agencies in Dutchess County has been both edifying and rewarding.
Lynn Rogers
Lynn M. Rogers is an activist parent and a skilled advocate having previously served several years as the Family Advocate for MHA of Dutchess County. Currently she is the Program Coordinator for the Family Support Programs at MHA, and holds the Family Development Credential (FDC) and the Family Peer Advocate Credential (FPAC). She has been an active presenter and panel member at a variety of conferences and presentations throughout the Family Support community. Ms. Rogers received the 2002 Excellence in Resiliency Award from Families Together in NYS, Inc. for her outstanding work in promoting resiliency in families of children with Social, behavioral, or emotional needs. Her strong belief is that parents are the experts with their children and should be empowered to determine the goals for themselves and their families.
Margarette Voyard
My name is Margarette Voyard. I have been working at MHA as a Generic Care Manager since April 2017. I enjoy working at MHA as MHA has a great group of people who are willing to help, share information and to support each other. I love the fact that not one day is alike, each day brings its own challenge and there's no time to be bored. I also love servicing the various clients. Being a Care Manager at MHA allows me to learn so much about mental Illness.
Marlene Taylor, MPS
I am the Education and Training Coordinator at MHA. I teach numerous parenting classes on special topics which help parents and caregivers to better understand and manage behavior challenges for children and teenagers. I also coordinate staff trainings that range from community programs and resources to special topics such as Trauma Informed Care and Narcan training. I love teaching and having the opportunity to bring inspiring and enlightening information to the community and staff. I truly believe information is power.
Nate Milligan MA, Care Management Supervisor
my name is Nate Milligan I am one of the Supervisor for MHA Care Management programs. I have been with MHA for 10 years. I enjoy working for MHA because we are one big happy family and MHA IS dedicated in helping those in need.
Preston Leigh
my name is Preston Leigh and I am a generic care manager at mha. I enjoy working at mha because it allows me to impact social change for the better.
Tammie Higgs
"Hired over a year ago for Receptionist on 2nd flr. Truly a blessing working with so many caring , talented, and understanding people. A very fulfilling and rewarding experience."
Vernae Johnson, Department Manager of Mel's Place
My name is Vernae Johnson. I am the Program Manager for Mel's Place, formerly known as The Living Room Program. I have been here for 11 years and had only planned on 3. But, I LOVE my job. I have a great staff and I enjoy working with the clients. The potential that each client has is truly amazing and is a pleasure working with them.
Adrienne Strother
Antonnio McCall
Cecilia Pittman
Cynthia Atkins
Dante Miscedra
Dennis C. King
Dorraine Ferguson
Elvira Marone
Erica Darmstadt
Everett Johnson
Felicita Wheeler
Heather Conklin
Isaac Gill
John Garrity, Development & IT Manager
Kaitlyn Dones
Kasha Morgan
Kathleen Valentino
Laura Coons
Lynn Johnson
Matthew Foley
Maykel Desir
Melissa Spear
Michael Napolitano, Department Manager of Care Management & Supported Housing x3005
Nakia Sutton, MLTC Liason
Natalie Hamilton, CM Office Manager
Nicole Halicki
Prisilla Acosta
Scott Eddington, Building Manager
Shawn Forte
Sherry Pittman
Sue Luongo
Zuma Saha
Alexis Hooper
Altiana Wallace
Alyce Snead
Amanda Brennan
Angela Gonzalez
Angelica Concepcion
Angelique Johnson
Annmarie Spiciarich
Anthony Anderson
Ashley Richmond
Assonia Riggins
Barbara Fritz
Bryan Bradley
Carol Kenney
Christian Chamberlain
Christopher LaPrade
Christopher Tomaskovic
Clyde King
Cody Walters
Colin Blake
Colleen Shay
Dan Valis
Daneil McLaughlin
Daniel VanLeuven
David Haviland
Denise Winters
Diana Douglas-Smits
Eliza Patterson, Teen Challenge / Young Adult Program Assistant
Elizabeth Palega
Felecia Elting, BSW
Florence Martinez
Gae Sorrentino
Jeniene Johnson
Jennifer Bissonette, Teen Challenge / Young Adult Program Manager
Jesse Monahan
Jessica Madden
Joanna Willis
Kathleen Gallagher
Kristen Harris
Krystina Rodriguez
Lashaveous Dicker
Lauren Taylor, Finance Team Leader
Lisa Fadelici, Finance Dept Manager
Lynn Reno MPS, CHC, Compliance Officer
Marge Tortorella, Resource Specialist
Mariana Whitaker-Ritter
Mark Marinoff
Mary Beth Link
Maureen Hernandes, Crisis Team Manager
Mei Wong
Melanie Nash
Melinda Ball
Nancy Collins, PROS Nurse
Natasha Nohle
Nicole DeLorenzo, Care Management Supervisor
Nicole Montera
Nyvette Reyes-Scialpi
Pat Spurgeon
Rachel Foote
Ray Jung
Renee Boyd
Rhonda Waite
Richard Martino
Russell Pratt
Sabrina Guirma
Sadaf Ahsan M.D., Doctor at PROS Clinic
Samantha Holz
Scott Berg
Scott Butler
Sherri Saunders
Tamar Levy
Theresa Constantino
Toumeka Harrow
Tracey Weber
Tracy Edmonstone
Tyrell Wood
Ulana Salewycz
Victor Smith
Yisel Navas