Texas Tech University

Faculty Member Named NAMI Texas Mental Health Professional of the Year

Samantha Salazar

November 18, 2021

Thomas Kimball

Thomas Kimball has continuously served as an advocate for mental health services in the Texas Tech community, earning national recognition

Thomas Kimball, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies doctoral program at Texas Tech. Kimball also serves as the director for the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities (CCRC). He works with a team of staff and student assistants to provide resources to those dealing with and recovering from mental health disorders. 

"I think this award is more a reflection of what our team has done for a long time and also our new mental health initiatives," Kimball said. "I am accepting this award on behalf of my people and the amazing work we have done together."

Kimball has worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas (NAMI Texas) to demystify the stigmas surrounding mental health issues and substance disorders. At Texas Tech, Kimball has worked with NAMI Texas to provide students and staff with training to facilitate mental health programs such as peer-led groups. Through his dedication to improving mental health resources, he provided funding for eight people to become NAMI Lubbock members and trained in NAMI Connection.

Compassionate, humble, and authentic are words used by Nikki Hune to describe Kimball. Hune is a student who nominated Kimball for the NAMI Texas award. In her nomination, she outlined his extraordinary efforts on campus to improve mental health resources and credited her success to the mentorship she has received from him.

"I can strongly say that my academic, professional career and mental health recovery would not be where it is today without the mentorship of Dr. Kimball," Hune said. 

With support from students such as Hune, Kimball organized a mental health student organization to serve students with mental illnesses, known as Tech Students for Mental Health: No Mind Left Behind. Kimball was inspired to create this organization after seeing the effects of COVID-19 on students' mental health. The group has already attracted around 12 members and has increased the attendance and popularity of the NAMI Lubbock groups. 

"We want to continue to expand peer support mental health services and create a parallel peer community for mental health much like our community for those in Recovery from their past addictions," Kimball said. 

Through his mental health initiatives, Kimball has significantly improved the involvement and interest in mental health awareness at Texas Tech. Through his efforts, students and staff are gaining access to services such as NAMI Texas, allowing the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities to reach more communities and people. 

Kimball attributes his success to his team at Texas Tech and continues to provide resources to those struggling with mental illness and substance disorders as the 2021 NAMI Texas Mental Health Professional of the Year.