Mental Health America Honors Outstanding Mental Health Advocates for Dedication, Innovation and Outreach to Underserved Communities
Contact: Sarah Jones, (703) 837-4787 or email@example.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 6, 2008) - Mental Health America honored four leading mental health advocates today for their tireless efforts to improve conditions for mental health consumers, during its 2008 Annual Conference, featuring the Inaugural Promotion and Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C.
"Their compassion, dedication and optimism should serve as a benchmark for all of us in the advocacy community," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Mental health consumers and their loved ones are the core of the mental health movement, and I am proud to honor such remarkable individuals."
The Clifford W. Beers Award - Harold House (Indianapolis, IN)
The Clifford W. Beers Award is named for the founder of Mental Health America and America's volunteer mental health advocacy movement. Created in 1976, the Beers award is the highest honor bestowed to an individual, and is presented annually to a consumer of mental health or substance abuse services who best reflects the example set by Beers in his efforts to improve conditions for, and attitudes toward, people with mental illnesses.
On June 6, Mental Health America awarded its highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award, to Harold V. House of Indianapolis for combating negative social stigma of mental illness, fighting for legal protection for mental health consumers, and creating programs within his community that help young people with emotional problems develop full, productive lives. House, who has survived bouts of clinical depression in the mid-1990's, has spent the last decade teaching and counseling at-risk and incarcerated youth in his community.
Sandy Brant Volunteer Service Award - Becky Kay (Greenville County, SC)
Mental Health America honors Becky Kay, president of the board of directors for Mental Health America of Greenville County, with the Sandy Brant Volunteer Service Award. In her more than 8 years of volunteering with the support group Survivors of Suicide, Kay-herself a survivor-has built the program into a regional authority on survivor support. Under Kay's leadership, people in need can find a full range of services, including support team calls and home visits, monthly peer support groups, and programs for children and teens.
Betty Humphrey Cultural Competency Award - Mental Health Association in Greensboro (NC)
The Betty Humphrey Cultural Competence Award honors a Mental Health America affiliate for outstanding achievements in creating culturally-competent services that address racial, ethnic and cultural disparities. The 2008 winner, Mental Health Association in Greensboro, NC, is recognized for its Latino Mental Health Campaign. Launched in September of 2006, the campaign has successfully built a network of Latino advocates and bilingual service providers in a community where such support was lacking.
Innovation in Programming - DeAndre Morris (Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas)
Mental Health America recognizes DeAndre Morris, director of Pathways Programs for the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, with The Innovation in Programming Award honoring creativity in program development and implementation. Under DeAndre's leadership, the 20-year-old Pathways Program has grown from a substance-abuse prevention program into a comprehensive, evidence-based model that addresses not only substance-abuse, but also school attendance and performance, violent behavior, and social and emotional development. Schools that have employed Pathways say there is a noticeably positive change in students' attitudes and behaviors, and many request further assistance from the Pathways team in high-stress situations at school and in the community.
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.
For more information on local services, visit Mental Health America's online Frequently Asked Questions section at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/faqs, contact a Mental Health America affiliate, or contact Mental Health America. Mental Health America strongly encourages people in crisis to seek help immediately. A 24-hour crisis center can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 911 should be called for immediate assistance.