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The STAR Center is one of the five National Technical Assistance Centers funded by SAMHSA to support mental health systems transformation. The purpose of the overall program is to provide technical assistance that facilitates the restructuring of the mental health system by promoting recovery and consumer directed approaches.

The STAR Center supports consumer and family run organizations in building organizational infrastructure and sustainability in two regions of the United States:

  • Region 2 - New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and
  • Region 6 - Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The STAR Center will also provide national technical assistance in the core concentration area of Youth Leadership:

  • Develop youth leadership skills for policy advocacy and organizational leadership skills including executive management, board governance and advisory roles.
  • Offer training and technical assistance for families and other supportive adults on how best to support young adults to use their voices and lived experience
  • Identify and disseminate emerging, promising and evidence based practices that support youth, young adults and their families to sustain desired community roles, remain whole as families and negotiate decision making and support roles.
  • Support the offering of subject matter expertise from youth and young adult run organizations and leadership from across the country to further educate policymakers, systems administrators, providers and community members about their proposed solutions and resources.

The STAR Center is funded by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Please visit our partner TA Centers:

meet the staff
Chacku Mathai Profile Picture


Chacku Mathai, CPRP, STAR Center Director

Chacku Mathai is an Indian-American, born in Kuwait, who has over twenty-eight years of experience in mental health and addiction community based services in a wide variety of roles including youth leader, peer advocate, peer support meeting facilitator, self-help educator, community organizer and educator, community residence manager, psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, trainer and program administrator.

He currently serves as the Director for the NAMI STAR Center, a National Technical Assistance Center on Consumer/Peer-Run Programs (NTAC) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the overall program is to provide technical assistance to facilitate the restructuring of the mental health system by promoting recovery and consumer directed approaches.

Chacku was formerly the Associate Executive Director for the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and an 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 was also appointed to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Credentialing Board. He served as a founding board member and advocate for Friends of Recovery - New York, a statewide coalition of people in recovery from addiction and is a former member of the Commission that oversees the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) Certification Program for Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners (CPRP). Chacku is regularly invited to train across the country on building collaborations across addiction and mental health recovery communities and systems, peer support, cultural competence, employment and economic self-sufficiency, leadership, systems advocacy and implementing exemplary, integrated practices in supporting recovery for people with psychiatric disabilities, diagnoses, trauma related conditions and co-occurring substance use conditions. Chacku's personal experiences as a youth and young adult in mental health and addiction recovery in New York launched Chacku and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services and alternative supports in the community.

Tanya C. Ryder Profile Picture


Tanya Ryder, M.Ed., STAR Center Project Manager

Tanya joined the STAR Center Team in January 2013. As the Project Manager, she provides daily management in the planning and implementation of STAR Center events, resources, systems, products and communications.

Tanya provides a variety of experience working with underserved and multicultural communities. She was previously employed as a Community Services Coordinator with the Department of Family Services for Fairfax County Government, an Education and Workforce Development Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Committee of Virginia and a Disaster Services Program Coordinator for the American Red Cross. She also currently serves as a Member on the Board of Directors of Fairfax Leadership Academy. Her passion is in Education and Leadership Development.

Tanya holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Sociology from Trinity University-Washington and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

contact us

Chacku Mathai
STAR Center Director


Tanya C. Ryder
STAR Center Project Manager


We want to hear from you! Your questions, comments and concerns are important to us and we will do our best to address them in a timely fashion.

STAR Center
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203
Toll-Free: (866) 537-STAR (7827)
Fax: (703) 600-1112

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