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Reintegration & Welcome Back Awards Recognize Excellence In Mental Health

2013 Honorees to Share their Stories at Special Awards Ceremony on April 9

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) and Eli Lilly and Company are proud to announce the 2013 honorees of the prestigious Reintegration and Welcome Back Awards.

The Reintegration Awards honor the contributions of individuals who live with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and battle tremendous odds, as well as those who treat and support them — inspiring others and improving lives along the way. The Welcome Back Awards support the fight against the stigma associated with depression and promote the understanding that depression is treatable.

"One in five Americans have a mental illness, yet only 20 percent seek and get the care they need," said Robert Baker, MD, Vice President, Global Medical Affairs for Lilly Bio-Medicines. "Our award winners point to how we can turn these troubling statistics around. They are brave enough to share their stories, to have the difficult conversations, to seek help and to reach out to others in need. We applaud their courage and commitment."

An independent panel of mental health leaders chose the winners from a large pool of applicants. Donations ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 supported by Lilly are made to organizations of each winner's choice. 

Honorees are being recognized at a special ceremony on April 9 during the 2013 National Council Conference. Former First Lady, and founder of the Carter Center, Rosalynn Carter is the guest of honor at this celebration, which will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

"After fifty years of outstanding work in community mental health, our nation is realizing that it is time to bring mental illness out of the shadows," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. "The Reintegration and Welcome Back award winners are a critical part of this sea change. They have shown us that it's possible to make a difference, one person, one organization at a time. Their passion and dedication is inspiring."

The following honorees of the 2013 Reintegration and Welcome Back Awards, as well as other award winners, will be recognized on April 9 (for a full list of honorees, visit www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/awards_of_excellence/about)

Welcome Back Awards: Community Service Lois and Sam Bloom, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Since their son died by suicide in 1982, the Blooms have devoted their lives to advocating for supportive policies for mental illness and suicide prevention. They volunteered at the Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles to work as phone "buddies," lead bereavement groups, support survivors, organize events, and speak to legislators at every level of government.

Welcome Back Awards: Destigmatization Alison Malmon, Founder and Executive Director, Active Minds, Washington, DC When Malmon's 22-year-old brother died by suicide during her freshman year of college, she turned her grief into action. She formed the campus group Active Minds that now has chapters on more than 350 college, university, and high school campuses and involves over 10,000 student leaders in mental health advocacy.

Welcome Back Awards: Lifetime AchievementMajor General (ARMY Ret.) Mark Graham and Carol Graham, Colorado Springs, CO The Grahams have battled through the tragic deaths of their two sons to become nationally recognized advocates for mental health and suicide prevention awareness. Kevin, a senior ROTC Cadet suffering from depression, took his life in 2003, while their other son Jeffrey was killed in action in Iraq 8 months later. Today, the Grahams help break down the stigma of seeking help for mental health problems within the Armed Forces and encourage Army leaders to help soldiers with mental illness.

Welcome Back Awards: Primary CareDr. Geogy Thomas, Medical Director, Dayspring Family Health Center, Jellico, TN Dr. Thomas developed a model of integrated physical and mental health care with few resources and in an isolated rural area with a high incidence of poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, and mental illness. When patients come in for primary care, physicians identify underlying behavioral health needs and bring in a care manager to help patients identify community resources.

Welcome Back Awards: Psychiatry Timothy Florence, MD, Medical Director, Washtenaw Community Support and Treatment Services, Ypsilanti, MI Dr. Florence has dedicated his career to serving people with severe mental illnesses, particularly the chronically homeless and other vulnerable individuals. He literally meets patients where they are ― at clinics, homeless shelters, or even campsites. When faced with limited psychiatry resources in primary care sites, he implemented a novel co-visit model where he moved from room to room with primary care providers to give patients the benefits of integrated care.  

Reintegration Awards: Achievement Elliott Steele, Executive Director, Vincent House, Pinnellas Park, FL When his daughter's schizophrenia caused her to leave home, Steele used the tragedy to help others struggling with mental illness by starting Vincent House — a clean, safe place for people recovering from mental illness. Today, Vincent House offers a haven for more than 600 lifetime members, including Steele himself, who suffers from bipolar disorder.

Reintegration Awards: Advocacy Dylan Henry, Morgan Henry, Travis Henry, and Mari Antclif, Hope and Advocacy, Helena, MT In 2008, a group of youth formed the Hope and Advocacy Panel to share their personal stories of living with mental illness through PowerPoint presentations set to music. The young people, ages 13-24, travel around Montana and other states bringing a message of hope and enlightenment to families, professionals, educators, and consumers.

Reintegration Awards: Artistic ContributionWorks of Heart Art Event and Auction Family Service & Guidance Center, Topeka, KS Since 2007, Family Service & Guidance Center has hosted five art nights a year to showcase the work of young artists with mental illness. Children work with volunteer artists in the community to create art that often serve as windows into their young lives. The art lets children focus on their amazing creations rather than their illness. The event has also helped community members realize that children with mental illness are no different than their own children and grandchildren.

Reintegration Awards: Clinical MedicineChild and Adolescent Bipolar Services, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services, the nation's first inpatient pediatric bipolar unit, strives to facilitate recovery from bipolar disorder and decrease the burden of debilitating mood symptoms on youth and their families by using proven approaches for diagnostic assessment, treatment, and recovery. To date, more than 1,400 youth have received services at the unit's outpatient program.

Reintegration Awards: Education Fountain House, New York, NY The Fountain House supported education program provides an array of supports to build confidence in young people with mental illness and encourage them to return to or remain in school. From learning to read to earning a graduate degree, young people connect not only with a wide variety of educational supports and services, but also with a vital peer community.

Reintegration Awards: Employment Thresholds, Chicago, IL Thresholds is a nationally recognized leader in supported employment for people with serious mental illness. In 2012, the supported employment program found jobs for 397 of its 561 members. Thresholds has offered members continuous support in finding, obtaining, and maintaining a job.

Reintegration Awards: HousingMain Street Housing, Inc., Baltimore, MD Main Street Housing provides affordable, quality housing for people in Maryland with mental illness, but because it is a disability-run organization. All of the organization's staff and a majority of board members have experienced mental health problems. MSH believes that a stable living environment is the single most important foundation from which to build a life.

Reintegration Awards: MentorshipBipolar Babe, Andrea Paquette, Executive Director, Victoria, British Columbia As Paquette shared personal stories about her struggles with bipolar disorder and saw people move from despair to hope she felt inspired to take up the mentorship banner and start the Bipolar Babe Project. Her path to mentorship has been rocky, strewn with substance abuse in her teens and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in her 20s — the illness led to two hospitalizations and a suicide attempt ― but she has become a role model to countless youth in the community.

About the National Council The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is the unifying voice of America's community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 member organizations, we serve our nation's most vulnerable citizens — the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained nearly 100,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities. Learn more at www.TheNationalCouncil.org .

About Eli Lilly and Company Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers — through medicines and information — for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com ; Lilly's clinical trial registry is available at www.lillytrials.com .

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For press passes to the awards ceremony or to speak to the honorees, contact: Mike Weaver at MikeW@thenationalcouncil.org or 240.676.7224 Morry Smulevitz at smulevitzmb@lilly.com or 317.457.3294

 

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