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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010

Longtime IU School of Nursing faculty member honored for mental health advocacy work

Dec. 17, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Valerie Markley, an assistant professor in the Indiana University School of Nursing who retired earlier this year after 39 years at IU, has received the Heroes for Recovery Award for a mental health professional from Mental Health America of Indiana, Indiana's largest mental health association.

The award, announced yesterday (Dec. 16) by Mental Health America of Indiana and Choices Inc. during a luncheon in Indianapolis, celebrates the dedication and commitment of those who truly promote recovery of individuals in their ongoing treatment of serious and persistent mental illness.

Valerie Markley

Valerie Markley

Markley is a retired psychiatric nurse who worked at hospitals in Bloomington and Columbus, Ind., and who taught nursing at both the Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campuses. She has also served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, where she worked in a combat stress control unit and combat support hospital.

One of her nominators for the award, Mental Health America Monroe County chapter president Jane D. McLeod, said Markley has contributed to mental health advocacy through local community involvement, as a voice on the issue at the state level, and through her teaching and work at Indiana University.

"Valerie has performed virtually every type of service one could imagine for the mental health community and she's done so over a long career of advocacy," McLeod said. "She has been a tireless worker for people with severe and persistent mental illness and for their families and caregivers as they struggle to create a meaningful life."

Markley currently sits on the Governor's Commission on Mental Health, the State Board for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the Indiana Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (as immediate past chair), and the Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition. In the past, she has also served in several positions with Mental Health America in Indiana and on the Statewide Steering Committee for Together We Learn to Cope support groups.

She has served on the board of the Monroe County chapter of Mental Health America almost continuously since she was first recruited in the early 1980s, and she is the founder of three area support groups: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance chapter, Schizophrenics Anonymous, and the Together We Learn to Cope support group for family members.

While at the Indiana University School of Nursing she taught courses on communications for health care professionals and on alterations in neuro-psychological health for the Indiana University School of Nursing.

"She would bring in consumers as guest speakers to talk about their experiences of living with mental illness, which was always a powerful and lasting experience for those students moving into the health professions," McLeod added.

Mental Health America of Indiana is a statewide organization with more than 60 local chapters and branch offices, making it the largest mental health advocacy organization in the state with strong ties to the national organization. It was created to work for the mental health of all citizens and victory over mental illness.

Choices Inc. provides management, support and training for communities with the goal of keeping youth in their homes and communities. A national leader in systems of care development, Choices is at the forefront of a nationwide effort to serve youth involved with the child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health and special education systems. Hundreds of youth and families are served annually through a broad spectrum of programs.

To speak with McLeod or Markley, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or