MHA's 2011 Annual Conference
Annual Conference Pictures
Congratulations to the recipients of awards given at MHA's 2011 Annual Conference. Learn about this year's winners and their extraordinary contributions to the mental health movement below.
Clifford W. Beers Award
Dr. Patricia Deegan of Byfield, Massachusetts, was awarded with MHA's highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award, for her leadership and service at the Awards Banquet of its Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 11.
Each year, Mental Health America presents the Beers Award to a mental health consumer who best reflects the example set by Mental Health America founder Clifford W. Beers in his or her efforts to improve conditions for and attitudes toward people living with mental health conditions.
"Patricia Deegan has a distinguished history of leadership in the mental health movement in the US and internationally," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "She was at the vanguard of the movement in psychiatry to empower patients to more effectively take charge of their care in an information rich and supportive environment. She embodies the vision of Beers in her work to reform mental health systems throughout out the country, in her powerful written and spoken word that has poignantly portrayed the experience of mental illnesses the personal and social reactions to the label of mental illness, and, perhaps most importantly, the promise of recovery for individuals with mental illness."
Diagnosed with schizophrenia in her teens, Deegan like many people receiving this diagnosis was coached to accept it as a critical part of her identity and to surrender to the disease. Out of these experiences, she developed a deep commitment to redefine the problems of illness as involving the intricate interplay of the person and the environment in which they find themselves.
She has become a formidable voice for recovery and hope, researching and lecturing on the topic and the empowerment of people diagnosed with mental illness. She is the creator of the CommonGround software program to support shared decision making in the psychopharmacology consultation. The CommonGround program was voted as a finalist in an international competition for Patient Empowerment by the Ashoka Changemakers Foundation and was recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a practice innovation.
Deegan is an Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth College School of Medicine and at Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Pat is also a Principle Investigator with the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne.
Shawn Davis was presented with MHA's 2011 mpower award for her exceptional efforts as a youth advocate. mpower, a Mental Health America youth awareness campaign, is supported by hundreds of musicians nationwide and encourages teens and college-age adults to get help for and promote understanding of mental health conditions.
Shawn Davis, a 16 year old student at Jenks High School, outside of Tulsa, has been employed as the Student Coordinator at Mental Health Association in Tulsa (the Association) since November 2010. Since her hiring, she's been a prominent figure in the Tulsa area, specifically among youth. She has been actively involved in a number of programs.
"Shawn's efforts at such a young age are an inspiration to us all," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Her vision, energy and activism are improving the lives of her fellow youth."
Shawn came to the Association with a passion to help youth understand and receive help for mental illness, like her own. As part of her own recovery, Shawn realizes that by helping others, she is helping herself continue to live a happy and fulfilling life. Surrounded by supportive family and friends, Shawn has a new perspective on life and strives to make the best out of each day. Shawn's steadfastness, intensity, work ethic, and bubbly personality make her one of the top leaders among Tulsa's youth. Her mission to fight stigma, promote mental health and wellbeing is a prominent fiber within Shawn's being.
Legislator of the Year Award
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) was honored by MHA with its 2011 Legislator of the Year Award for his leadership on mental health issues in Congress.
"Senator Franken in his short tenure in Congress has emerged as a mental health champion in Congress, cementing his state's deep commitment to these issues," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "We applaud his leadership and commitment to serving the needs of his constituents and millions of Americans living with mental health conditions."
As a member of the Judiciary and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees, Sen. Franken has played a critical role in shaping mental health policy. In particular, he has led numerous efforts to have the Senate go on record in recommending to the Administration that they issue regulations to the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that reflect the intent of Congress.
"I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of a giant, my friend and predecessor Paul Wellstone, on behalf of Americans who suffer from mental health issues and addiction," said Sen. Franken. "These problems are close to my heart and, while we've made a lot of progress on them in recent years, it's important that we continue our efforts and fully implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act."
Sen. Franken also won passage of legislation that creates a pilot program to pair service dogs to veterans coping with the physical and psychological tolls of war. Service dogs help reduce depression, and help ward off panic attacks. He has also worked to address the problem of bullying in schools, introducing the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth with the same kind of rights that are extended to students based on race, religion, country of national origin, and language.
Sandy Brandt Volunteer Service Award
Stan Jones was presented with the Sandy Brandt Volunteer Service Award for his 40 years of dedicated service to Georgia affiliates and the national organization. The award is named in honor of Sandy Brandt, a long-time volunteer at the local, state and national levels who exemplifies the unselfish, dedicated mental health volunteer, and is presented to a person who has exhibited extraordinary volunteer service and ongoing commitment to Mental Health America's mission.
During 40 years of dedicated service, Stan Jones has demonstrated sustained commitment to the mission of Mental Health America. He worked with Mental Health Association of Georgia and the National Mental Health Association (Mental Health America) through his work for the state of Georgia and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. When Stan returned to Georgia after his years in Washington, he accepted an invitation to join the Mental Health Association of Metropolitan Atlanta and the Mental Health Association of Georgia boards. He has provided inspired leadership at all levels of Mental Health America's organization: local, state and national. He also served 2 terms on the national board from 1990-1996. As the Vice Chair for Public Policy committee, Stan brought his Washington knowledge and his persuasive skills to the table in a powerful way. He has also displayed remarkable courage in the face of his son Tom's illness and death, in 2003, as a result of the state mental health system's failures to provide adequate community services and a safe hospital environment. Stan has been publicly open and candid about what happened to this young man who was so full of potential. He issued a clarion call for change, challenging the system to improve so that no other family would have to bear this most personal heartbreak. The success in 2009 of the Georgia amici group in bringing about a landmark settlement agreement with the Department of Justice is directly traceable to Stan's tenacity and moral courage. This settlement is now requiring the state to invest millions of dollars in community services that will improve the lives of many, many people with mental illnesses and addictive disease.
Betty Humphrey Cultural Competency Award
MHA of Westchester County's Nuestro Futuro program was the recipient of MHA's 2011 Betty Humphrey Cultural Competency Award. Program Coordinator, Maribel Rivera, LCSW, accepted the award on behalf of her organization during the Delegate Assembly of MHA's 2011 Annual Conference.
Nuestro Futuro is a comprehensive bilingual/bicultural mental health treatment and support services program that serves approximately 300 Latino children, families and adults in Westchester County each year who are experiencing difficulties in their interpersonal, family, social, educational, and/or peer relationships. Of the organizations that provide subsidized mental health services countywide to Latinos, MHA of Westchester is the only organization that has a distinct clinical program dedicated to the treatment of the Latino community with bilingual and bicultural staff. The program's success is built on its ability to provide culturally competent and sensitive services to Latino immigrants. Nuestro Futuro functions as a second "home," meeting the wide-ranging needs of individuals whose mental health is impacted by cultural differences and language barriers. Nuestro Futuro's multidisciplinary team provides a continuum of care that includes early mental health intervention and support services to both adults who are struggling with issues of migration and acculturation, and children who have been experiencing cultural shock in their own family system. The program is also able to draw on the expertise and treatment services that are available through MHA of Westchester County's other programs.
2011 Media Awards
Sixteen authors and journalists were selected as winners of MHA's 2011 Media Awards for outstanding coverage and portrayals of mental health issues during the previous year.
"The Media Awards bring together the very best mental health stories in print and broadcast media during 2010," said David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Informative and thought-provoking journalism is a powerful form of education and we applaud these journalists for helping shape public understanding of these critical issues."
A volunteer judging panel of media professionals selected the winning entries for their educational value, outstanding quality, comprehensiveness and creativity in addressing timely issues in mental health. Members of this year's panel were: Therese Borchard, PsychCentral.com; Lisa Esposito, Health Behavior News Service; Kim Painter, USA Today; Nancy Szokan, The Washington Post; and Mike Walter, Walter Media
Below are the winners for each category and the title and link to their entry:
"Dix patients fear losing safety net"
Coverage of a Mental Health Issue
Pablo S. Torre
"A Light in the Darkness"
"Which Way Madness Lies: Can psychosis be prevented?"
"The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression"
"Haiti's Traumatized Earthquake Survivors"
PRI's The World
"This Emotional Life"
"As State Cuts Aid, a Scramble to Get Benefits for Homeless"
WBEZ (Chicago, IL)
First Person Account of a Mental Health Issue
Lauren Slater, Writer; Paula Derrow, Articles Director
"Would You Rather Be Fat and Happy or Thin and Sad"
Coverage of Mental Health Research
"Timing is everything"
Delaney Ruston, MD
"Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia"
Coverage of Veterans Mental Health Issues
The Bay Citizen
Portrayal of Persons with a Mental Health Condition
Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent; Sabriya Rice, CNN Medical Producer
"How to save a friend from the brink"
CNNhealth.com-The Empowered Patient
Newspapers with a Circulation Above 100,000
Meg Kissinger and Steve Schultze
"Patients in Peril"
Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
Newspapers with a Circulation Below 100,000
Mary Ann Ford and Edith Brady-Lunny
"Recovery Court" series
The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)