Board of Directors
Kara Baertsch, LMHC – President
Kara is a graduate of Indiana University and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified EMDR Therapist and Approved Consultant. Kara owns a private practice in Bloomington, Indiana where she specializes in treating dissociative and trauma-related disorders. She is also active in providing training and consultation in EMDR for clinicians at the basic training and certification levels in Indiana and across the country. Kara is a Certified QPR Suicide Prevention Instructor and presents on a variety of topics relate to trauma and mental health. Kara has been on the Board of Mental Health America of Monroe County since 2017 and also serves as co-chair of the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition. She became involved in MHA-MC because she believes in the importance of community and collaboration in advocating for increased access to mental health services in the community and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Michele Simms, MSN, RN –
Michele has lived and worked in the Monroe County area for 24 years and has been a registered nurse for 20 years. She has degrees in Psychology and Nursing Leadership-Education and is currently taking online courses at IU in Nonprofit Leadership. Michele has worked as a bedside nurse, teacher and manager for IU Health for over 18 years in the area of OB and Pediatrics. She has many volunteer roles including: Monroe County CASA (6 years), Treasurer of Monroe County CARES (2 years), Co-chair of the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition (2019), serving on the Child Protection Team for Department of Child Services (3 years) and an active member of Monroe County System of Care, managing the county LookUp Indiana website (3 years). Michele currently works for IU Health Riley Physicians as their Pediatric Practice Care Manager in which she supports complex children, families, staff and pediatric providers with quality patient care. Michele is motivated to create mental health education and the development of resources that help our community members seek and find wellness. Being on the board of MHA-MC gives her the opportunity to collaborate with people who want to make a difference, destigmatize mental health and inspire people to remain hopeful in the possibility of a greater tomorrow.
James Carter – Treasurer
James is a retired employee from Indiana University’s Student Loan Administration Office. Upon retirement, James had the opportunity, availability, and time to volunteer in areas of personal growth and fulfillment, and he is pleased that Mental Health America of Monroe County has provided him with such an avenue for personal growth. James believes that the area of mental health is and has been one the most important issues facing our nation today. He has served on the MHA-MC Board since 2016 and currently serves as board treasurer. James also enjoys the opportunity to be involved with MHA-MC’s primary sub-committee, the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Mindi Wisker-Tindall, LMHC –
Mindi is a graduate of Indiana University and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Mindi is a member of the National Board Certified Counselors. She is currently working as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist at Spencer Psychology, Bloomington’s Children and Family Service Department and is the previous coordinator for Monroe County System of Care. Mindi chose to be a part of MHA-MC because she wants to help improve access and quality of mental health services for our community members through continued education and advocacy.
Jody Cox RN, BSN, BCPC
Jody is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor through AACC and is a registered nurse, now retired after 46 years. She has been a Christian counselor for 22 years and is the current director of River of Life prayer and counseling ministry at The Life Church. She attended the Elijah House School of Prayer/Counseling ministry-basic and advanced training. She is a current member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Jody decided to become a part of the board after talking with another board member and realizing how much impact they have on the community. Having done Christian counseling for so long, she has been involved with many different clients from all walks of life and she is interested in helping in any way she can and using all resources available. Jody sees a lot of clients that she refers for more involved, professional treatment and who always benefit from involvement with others. She believes we all need to help one another.
Laury Flint is currently an IUPD Major and Public Safety and institutional Assurance Director for Community Engagement and Threat Assessment. She is an IU alumna and served as chief of IUPD-Bloomington for more than five years before beginning her current position in March 2019. As director, she works with all IU campuses to develop a comprehensive, consistent approach and response to any reports of concerning behavior. She will continue to work closely with campus and community partners to promote essential active engagement. Laury began her law enforcement career as a cadet in the Indiana University Police Academy in 1980. She graduated from the IUPA in 1981 and later that year from IU Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She started as a patrol officer at IUPD-Bloomington in January 1982, and progressed through the ranks of uniform sergeant, uniform lieutenant and deputy chief, culminating in her appointment to chief on Nov. 1, 2013. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, session 230. Laury has been active with a wide variety of university offices and committees involved with monitoring and improving the safety of the IU Bloomington campus community. She remains a sworn law enforcement officer with IUPD and instructor for the Indiana University Police Academy. She is also an instructor of Mental Health First Aid for sworn personnel at all IU campuses and the IUB community.
Katie King, LCSW
Katie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who owns a private practice in Bloomington, Indiana. Katie specializes in treating clients and families across the lifespan, focusing on healing perinatal mental health challenges and attachment trauma. She uses EMDR, play therapy techniques, and theraplay techniques in her interventions with clients. Previously, Katie worked in the field of addictions as a therapist and in a research setting. Katie chose to be on the board of Mental Health America of Monroe County to serve the community and advocate for continued prevention, education, and treatment for mental health. Katie lives in Bloomington with her partner, two sons, and two bonus daughters.
Dr. Sarah Ragonese, HSPP
Sarah is a Licensed Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She has supported educators across the nation by providing in-depth trainings in the areas of Response-to-Intervention, Data-Based Decision Making, Culturally Responsive Practices, and Positive Behavior Supports. In addition to her role as an education consultant, Sarah has practiced as a school psychologist within MCCSC for over 13 years. Her areas of specialty include conducting comprehensive psychological evaluations, consulting with parents and schools regarding best practices for emotional and behavioral and academic supports, and providing short-term skills based training to children and their families. Sarah has years of experience working with clients with a variety of needs including Learning Disabilities, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, etc. In addition to her work as a school psychologist, Sarah also has her own private practice where she specializes on providing short-term skills-based counseling and education to children and families and conducting psychological assessments to children and adults in need and consults and collaborates with local mental health agencies. Sarah completed her graduate and post-graduate studies in School and Counseling psychology at Indiana University where she earned her Ph.D. and graduated with her B.S. in psychology from Tulane University. She joined the Mental Health America of Monroe County board in order to collaborate with other leaders in the field and advocate for increased access and quality of mental health services for those in need. Sarah lives in Bloomington with her five children and husband.
Steve is retired from Bloomington Meadows Hospital where he was employed in the Customer Service / Business Development Department for 25 years. During his tenure at Meadows, Steve worked with a variety of referral sources including mental health professionals in a variety of settings, school social workers and administrators, physicians, psychiatrists, social service agencies, the faith-based community, the legal system, and hospital emergency departments throughout southern Indiana and also through south-central Illinois. Steve has served on the MHA Board of Directors for over a decade and has been active on the Executive Board, the providers subcommittee, and the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Steve has served as both the Vice President and President of the MHA Board of Directors and as Secretary and Chairperson of the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Steve has been a strong advocate for quality mental health care and suicide prevention for forty years. Having lost a friend to suicide in the early seventies, Steve saw first hand the effects suicide has on the survivors. Steve has a passion to work with people to help bring better mental health services and better education on mental health to his community. Steve’s daughter is a family nurse practitioner and works at a large mental health clinic in Evansville. His son is an attorney and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army JAG Corps who has served his country for nearly twenty years. Steve resides in Bloomington with his wife Kim and is a proud grandfather of five grandchildren.
An artist and creator to the core, Chelsea Sanders is the visionary and co-founder of Be Golden. With 12 years under her belt as founder and Executive Creative Director of Blueline Media and owner of art gallery Untitled Light, Chelsea brings her artistic passion and entrepreneurial energy and spirit to Be Golden, helping women understand their self-worth and empower them to fulfill their most authentic lives. When she is not lifting other women up through her creative endeavors, she is motivating them on the cycling floor as an instructor at Bloomington-based Ethos Cycling. Chelsea Sanders serves on the board for Mental Health America of Monroe County in assisting with creative direction, marketing, design and managing web presence.
Serretta-Brooke Gordon, MSSW
Serretta is the Assistant Clinical Professor of MSW Field Instruction and Coordination at the Indiana University School of Social Work at Bloomington campus and joined the Mental Health America of Monroe County Board in January 2020. She has a wealth of experience working with youth and families in the community. Serretta is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and holds a Bachelor’s of Social Work with completion of the KY Public Child Welfare Certification Program from Kentucky State University. She also has a Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. Serretta gives great credit to her mentors who motivate her to strive for excellence. Serretta has a background in working for the Public Child Welfare System, working with consumers in psychiatric hospital settings, KY Schools for Alcohol and Other Drug Studies, KY Family Finding Project Match Initiatives, and non-profit and for-profit agencies with families and children. Serretta thrives on her goals for promoting positive change around her and encourages others to reach their goals. The desire to promote this change led to her study abroad on various trips to learn about other cultures including the March of Remembrance Voyage to Poland for Holocaust Studies. She also toured London, England and Dublin, Ireland for European studies. She acknowledges the “village” of Lexington, KY that taught her how to care for herself and in turn care for others, and she says that every experience she had throughout her adolescence has shaped who she is today. Serretta has found joy in her new home in Bloomington where she has lived since 2013. She is a proud member of Bethel AME Church Bloomington and says that her spirituality is everything! Serretta also takes pride in partnerships with other organizations such as the Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County as she loves working with youth and has devoted her time to the development of the youth in the state of Indiana as both as an employee and a volunteer. Serretta also participated in the Bloomington Citizen’s Academy, Kids With Absent Parents and families of incarcerated family members, South Central Community Action Thriving Connections Program, and she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated Lexington, Kentucky Graduate Chapter. Serretta also recently started an initiative called the Brave Mary Family in raising awareness for Multiple Myeloma Blood Cancer and helping families in honor of her late mother who passed away in early 2019. She is always striving to learn more and fuel her passion in the social work profession. Serretta is honored to be selected as a board member of the Mental Health America of Monroe County in helping to collaborate with community partners on building ideas and planning together to address the mental health needs of the Bloomington community and beyond.
Melissa is the Senior Police Social Worker at Bloomington Police Department. She has worked in a variety of case management and therapy roles, working primarily with clients who had serious mental illness diagnoses, clients who had been involved in the legal system, and clients who had experienced sexual violence. Melissa currently works closely with community partners throughout Monroe County to connect people in crisis with long-term care options through brief case management and therapeutic interventions. She also supports BPD officers and employees and is trained in EMDR. Melissa joined the MHA board in 2021 after seeing the incredible need for easily accessible services for Monroe County residents, as well as the need for community partners to come together to make the changes needed in the community. Melissa lives in Monroe County with her husband and their dog, Millie.