ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mental Health America will honor three outstanding mental health advocates and an innovative affiliate program at its 2013 Annual Conference, Why Wellness Works: Breakthrough and Pathways to Whole Health, June 5-8, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.
Susan Rogers of Philadelphia will be presented the Clifford W. Beers Award, Mental Health America's highest honor. 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.
Rogers is Director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, a consumer-run national technical assistance center funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and is Director of Special Projects of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP).
The Sandy Brandt Volunteers Service Award will be given to Judy Alexander of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Named in honor of Sandy Brandt, a long-time Mental Health America volunteer who exemplifies unselfish commitment to the mental health movement, the award is presented to a person who has exhibited extraordinary volunteer service and ongoing commitment to Mental Health America's mission. A former board member of Mental Health Association in Tulsa, Alexander has served for a number of years as chair of the Association's Housing Development Task Force.
Jordan Kerstetter, 16, a student at East Juniata High School in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, will be honored with Mental Health America's Youth Advocacy Award, given to a young person for exceptional efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues among America's youth.
The Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County will receive the Innovation in Programming Award for its Be Merge: Behavorial and Primary Care Integration Project. The award recognizes the continuing innovation and creativity of the Mental Health America affiliate network in program development and implementation. Pam Gionfriddo, Chief Executive Officer of the Association, and Paul Gionfriddo, a former Connecticut state legislator who advised on the project, will present their program during the Conference on the afternoon of June 7.
The Clifford W. Beers and Youth Advocacy Awards will be presented on the evening of June 7 at the Clifford W. Beers Awards Dinners. The Sandy Brandt and Innovation in Programming Awards will be presented during the Delegate Assembly on the morning of June 7.
"We applaud all these honorees for their invaluable commitment and contributions to the mental health field," said Wayne W. Lindstrom, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Their work and accomplishments have made a major difference in the lives of people living with mental health and substance use conditions."
Below is additional information on the awardees and their accomplishments:
Susan Rogers: Susan Rogers is Director of Special Projects of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP) and Director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, a consumer-run national technical assistance center funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services. She also works as a Communication Specialist with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individual with Psychiatric. She also co-authored an amici curiae brief that was accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic Olmstead case.
Judy Alexander: A past board member and board president of Mental Health Association in Tulsa (MHAT), Judy Alexander has served for a number of years as chair of the Association's Housing Development Task Force. Under her leadership, MHAT's housing program has grown from one property in 1990 to 24 properties and won national recognition for its achievements. In addition, she chaired the 2004 National Zarrow Mental Health Symposium, the first time the conference had a national focus, and then again in 2012, when the Symposium was presented along with Mental Health America's Annual Conference.
Jordan Kerstetter: A junior at East Juniata High School, Jordan decided to start his required Senior Project early by organizing a 5K race/walk/kids run, which is being held later this month to spread awareness about suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The 5K, called The TBD Memorial 5K, stands for his cousin Todd who took his life seven months before Jordan was born, Jordan's cousin Danny who took his life at age 33, and Brandon Bitner, a 14-year old boy who took his life because of bullying. All funds raised by the event will be donated to The Brandon Bitner Memorial Scholarship Fund at Susquehanna University.
Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County: Be Merge: Behavorial and Primary Care Integration Project is a creative approach to health and behavioral health integration training and implementation. Developed by the Association, it offers tools to providers to move from a fragmented to a more coordinated health care delivery system, while increasing the number of people with behavioral health concerns who are identified early and connected to quality whole health care. Be Merge is consistent with the Affordable Care Act push toward integration.
For more information on Mental Health America's 2013 Annual Conference, go to http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/annualconference.
Mental Health America (www.mentalhealthamerica.net), founded in 1909, is the nation's leading community-based network dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. With our 240 affiliates across the country, we touch the lives of millions—Advocating for changes in mental health and wellness policy; Educating the public & providing critical information; and delivering urgently needed mental health and wellness Programs and Services.
SOURCE Mental Health America