National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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2014 Awards of Excellence HONOREES
Recognized during the 2014 National Council Conference

Artistic Expression

Bill Protzmann
Music Teacher, Friend to Friend Program, Episcopal Community Services
San Diego, CA

Bill Protzmann describes himself as a “virtuoso pianist and passionate humanist.” He founded and ran a telecom business for more than 20 years and holds magna cum laude degrees in piano performance and creative writing. He has performed in prestigious concerts and released two original albums. He knows that music changes lives. So when Protzmann’s fingers fly over the keys, he intends not only to entertain but also to heal people coping with physical and mental challenges. He discovered “musical healing” on his own journey to recover from schizophrenia and chronic depression. Music helped him experience his pain in a safe space and work through his emotions. He now shares his healing experience with others with mental illness, survivors of abuse and cancer, children with emotional disturbances and their parents, the terminally ill, caregivers, and senior citizens. He supports the recovery of homeless people with mental illness through weekly classes at Episcopal Community Services “Friend to Friend” program. Protzmann’s one-man show, “Connected!” offers music as a healing tool to service members and veterans with PTSD.

Community Advocacy

Keith Schafer
Director, Missouri Department of Mental Health
Jefferson City, MO

Keith Schafer’s stalwart leadership has made Missouri the Show Me State for behavioral health excellence. For 27 years, Schafer has improved the lives of thousands of people with mental and substance use disorders. His ability to connect data and metrics with real-life stories of recovery has helped to sustain essential services during a time of historic budget decline. He reformed psychiatric prescribing and saved the state more than $30 million, while improving the quality of care. Schafer initiated Disease Management 3700, a program targeting 3,700 mentally ill, high-cost Medicaid users not engaged with community mental health centers, which saved $8 million and spurred recovery. He drove the creation of the Missouri Behavioral Health Homes initiative, which has improved health outcomes for more than 18,000 individuals with mental illness, substance use, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions. He has nurtured new leaders and made bipartisan support of mental health the norm in the state. Schafer is indeed the “perfect person, at the perfect time, at the perfect place” to nurture healthcare innovation, partnerships, and system redesign.

Doc of the Year

Syed Arshad Husain
Medical Director, Pathways Community Health
Clinton, MO

A psychiatrist by training, a teacher by nature, and a humanitarian at heart, Dr. Husain has paved the way from devastation to hope for thousands of children around the world whose lives have been torn apart by trauma. A child and adolescent psychiatrist of international renown, Dr. Husain believes that with the right support, children can recover from adverse experiences. He established the International Center for Psycho-Social Trauma and led a team to Bosnia in the mid 90’s to work with children in refugee camps who’d been traumatized by the civil war. He trained mental health professionals in Bosnia to care for the children and also started the unique “Teachers as Therapists” program to train school teachers in providing basic mental health interventions. The enduring lessons are captured in Dr. Husain’s book Hope for the Children: Lessons from Bosnia and have been replicated in the wake of disasters around the world, including the floods in Pakistan, the bombing in Oklahoma City, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. He also serves as mentor to many psychiatrists and is a prolific author and sought-after speaker.

Educational Achievement

Andrew Steward
Graduate Student, University of Denver
Denver, CO

Andrew Steward is getting ready to graduate from the University of Denver with a master’s in social work. He’s proud of his field work with Kaiser Permanente where he helps older adults with dementia and their families. He earned a music degree with a Lilly Reintegration Scholarship and is about to become a certified music practitioner who can offer music as therapy. Growing up, Steward excelled in academics and music. He led a local suicide prevention program and went to Ecuador at age 10 to do something about poverty. However there is what Steward calls a “middle chapter” in his life that he kept hidden for a long time. At 19, when he was in college, he started to experience psychosis. His family stood by him through his struggles with serious mental illness despite the resulting social exclusion — “My parents were there for me but no one was there for my parents,” says Steward. Fear of stigma caused anxiety, shame, and social withdrawal for six long years. But Steward’s eventual victory over his struggles is evidenced in the two powerful TEDx talks he’s given on “Beating Mental Illness.” He overcame his fears because he wants to ensure that no one else runs away from mental illness.


Kenneth Whiddon
Chief Executive Officer, AmerICANWork
St. Simons Island, GA

When you meet someone, they always ask ‘What’s your name’ and then ‘What do you do?’ Work is such an important part of who you are,” says Kenneth Whiddon. And he knows it’s no different for people with mental illness, who want to work if they can. Whiddon was repeatedly hospitalized for mental illness and not allowed to work. But, he says a day came when he decided to stop looking at himself as sick and to “fulfill his responsibilities as a father and as a man, to achieve something.” Whiddon saw work as a path to recovery. He went back to school and secured an internship at a community mental health center, which eventually turned into a job. In 1999, Whiddon started AmericanWork to help community behavioral health organizations run supported employment and work programs. Today his company’s programs help hundreds of people disabled by mental illness re-integrate into the community from long term hospital stays through recovery centered programs offering case management, medications, medical care, benefits assistance, and getting back into the workforce. He makes life in community a reality for people who might otherwise spend their life in hospitals or behind bars.

Integration & Wellness

Lone Star Circle of Care
Georgetown, TX

Lone Star is modeling healthcare of the future It offers one-stop access to patient-centered care for mind and body. In 12 years, Lone Star grown from a small primary care clinic to a health home for more than 100,000 Texans with more than 30 locations providing coordinated primary care, behavioral healthcare, dentistry, pharmacy, and health education to keep people of all ages healthy and productive regardless of their ability to pay. Organizational funding streams are diverse and leverage public-private partnerships. The National Committee for Quality Assurance and models best practices in healthcare has recognized Lone Star as a level 3 patient-centered medical home. Nearly 90 percent of patients report that they have same-day access to care. Patients see the same providers on every visit and build strong relationships and multiple providers share patient information and coordinate care through shared electronic medical records. Care is provided after hours and on weekends to reduce visits to the emergency room. And a state-of-the-science member navigation center provides a 24/7 single point of contact for patients to schedule appointments, ask questions, receive referrals, access phone-based triage, and get support for managing chronic conditions.

Mental Health Professional of the Year

Roaya Tyson
Director, Inpatient Services, Gracepoint
Tampa, FL

Roaya Tyson is a leader who deliberates strategy at the highest levels and then rolls up her sleeves and gets into the trenches to work alongside her team. She’s worked for more than 20 years as a behavioral health clinician and business leader. At Gracepoint, Tyson has created state-of-the-science mental health ERs — crisis response and stabilization programs that have saved lives and transformed the community. She has advocated tenaciously to raise significant public and private funding for many programs. Tyson has engineered large-scale renovation and redesign initiatives to create welcoming facilities that put patients first. She developed the children first response team, which has become a national model for child welfare diversion programs. She established a forensic residential program and a jail diversion initiative. Tyson says her work is driven by simple philosophies. Treat every patient as you would want someone to treat a family member, meet the patient and family where they are, and treat all staff with respect.

Peer Specialist of the Year

Clarence Jordan
VP of Wellness and Recovery, ValueOptions
Cordova, TN

Clarence Jordan describes himself as a peer specialist who builds on his own life experiences to help others recover from mental illness and substance abuse. Jordan believes that every individual with behavioral health challenges has a unique road to recovery.  He is passionate about helping them discover that road and define their inner strengths. His health promoter program coach’s people with behavioral health, substance abuse and physical health challenges pursue recovery with a strengths-based, person-centered perspective. Jordan believes in giving people “fishing poles, not fish” because his own recovery from depression and substance use was fueled by an employer who gave him a job, and encouraged him to take on new challenges. Jordan shares his story of recovery with colleagues and on Capitol Hill to encourage society to recognize mental illness, change perceptions, and shape policy. As a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, he advocates for improved access to mental health and substance use treatment for service members and their families. At ValueOptions, Jordan leads a multidisciplinary team to promote access to behavioral health services for underserved groups such as the military, the African American community, and Medicaid populations.

Public Education

Muffy Walker
Co-Founder & President, Board of Directors, International Bipolar Foundation
San Diego, CA

When it comes to mental illness, silence is not golden. You need to “Say It Forward” and share messages of strength and hope with those who suffer and their family members. That’s how Muffy Walker has lived her life. She’s a psychiatric nurse but when her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at seven, she was devastated and had trouble navigating the system to get him the care he needed. Gradually, as she taught her son to embrace his illness and learn to cope, she also started a support group out of her home for other family members on the same journey. The group evolved to the International Bipolar Foundation. To this day, Walker volunteers 60 hours a week to support the foundation’s outreach in more than 85 countries. The foundation promotes research and awareness, engaging stakeholders through a robust social media campaigns, educational webinars, a high school essay contest, and the distribution of the free Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder book. Walker is proud to have instituted a Girl Scout patch program for mental health awareness that nearly 650 young people have completed. In 2013, the foundation’s Say It Forward email and social media campaign reached more than 1 million people.

Reintegration Lifetime Achievement

Patrick Hendry
Senior Director, Consumer Advocacy, Mental Health America
Alexandria, VA

At the lowest point in his life — having just survived his first suicide attempt, isolated and scared after his release from hospital — Patrick Hendry found new purpose in life when he walked through the door of the Sarah Ann Center, a drop-in center to support recovery from mental illness. He started volunteering at the center and gained a sense of accomplishment and strength to battle the serious mental illness that robbed him of his business, home, marriage, and friends. He went on to become an advocate and educator, helping others like himself overcome the challenges of poverty, loneliness, exclusion, and isolation imposed by mental illness. He started peer-run, self-directed mental health care programs in Florida and Virginia. He travels around the country organizing grassroots peer networks to help underscore the rights of people with mental illness and to help them recover by reintegrating into the community. Hendry is the author of Common Threads, Stories of Survival and Recovery from Mental Illness and the producer of a documentary, “From Asylums to Recovery: The History of the Battle of Civil and Human Rights for People in the Mental Health Care System.”

Rising Star

Ituha Cloud
Certified Peer Support Specialist, InterAct of Michigan
Kalamazoo, MI

“Let’s Be Bold” is not just the title of Ituha Cloud’s debut album, it’s also his mantra for young people everywhere, especially those who suffer from mental illness and substance use. Cloud is bold in sharing the pain of his own past. He is bold in encouraging others to find help. Driven to the streets in anger over a troubled family life, Cloud started to use drugs at a young age. His escalating substance use over the years — combined with depression — caused him to lose his home, his new family, and hope. It was only when he entered treatment at a community mental health center that Cloud began to heal. A deep faith experience and the positive people he allowed into his life renewed him. He had to overcome the belief that he did not deserve any better. Today, Cloud is the health and wellness recovery coach at InterAct. He shares his story with troubled youth, churches, Narcotics Anonymous support groups, conference attendees, and concert -goers through speaking and music. He is transparent about his past but does not let old failures define him. Cloud is a traveling evangelist and a leading hip-hop Christian artist.

Science to Service

Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis (PREP)
The Felton Institute
San Francisco, CA

At The Felton Institute, early intervention and evidence-based treatment for schizophrenia are achieving dramatic results — people in the Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis program experience an over 70% reduction in hospitalizations and psychiatric crisis and significant increases in participation in work and school within one year. PREP’s vision is that within five years of entering treatment, most cases of psychosis are in remission. Supported by a CMS Health Care Innovation grant, PREP provides early intervention, rigorous diagnosis, and effective treatment for psychosis by translating six evidence-based practices from academic to community settings, achieving synergy from their cumulative impact. The average course of PREP treatment is one year — six months of engagement and intensive outpatient treatment followed by six months of aftercare, medication monitoring, and transition to mainstream services. Family members are heavily involved in the treatment process. All treatment team members receive daily in-person or remote coaching, supervision, and support from senior clinicians. As a result of reductions in hospitalizations alone, counties participating in PREP saved an estimated $15,450 per participant year. Beyond the data, PREP team members say success is achieved when patients learn to manage and cope with symptoms so they can achieve their life goals, graduate from college, form meaningful relationships, and live full lives.


EXCELLENCE IN Behavioral Healthcare management

Supported by Mental Health Risk Retention Group and Negley Associates
Behavioral Health Response
St. Louis, MO

A desperate young mother called the Behavioral Health Response crisis line. The five-year-old her family was adopting was aggressive and could not be calmed. BHR sent a mobile crisis team to her home. They made a next day appointment for the boy and his mother with a local community mental health center. The boy was hospitalized for evaluation, and upon discharge, BHR connected the family to home counseling and educational services and supported the mother through the adoption process. BHR always goes the extra mile in providing crisis services. Youth with suicidal or homicidal thoughts — or their family or community members — can call, text, or web chat with a clinician 24/7. The results are impressive — 100 percent of young people who called to get help with suicidal or homicidal thoughts agreed to a safety plan and 71 percent were linked to a community provider for treatment and/or housing services within 14 days of the initial call. BHR services have reduced emergency room visits, saved costs, and saved lives.


Supported by Qualifacts, Inc.
Behavioral Health Link
Atlanta, GA

Technology can track flight status, concert ticket availability, or exactly where a shipped package is at any point in time. But when it comes to care for people in a crisis, little information is available on where they can go or how long they have to wait for help. The Georgia Crisis & Access Line that Behavioral Health Link operates for the state a 24/7 one-call link to behavioral health services for consumers, families, physicians, law enforcement, 911 operators, probate judges, child welfare workers, clergy, and others reaching out to get help. Frustrated with the challenges in accessing care for callers, Behavioral Health Link developed a comprehensive, easy-to-use set of electronic dashboards that track real-time availability of hospital beds, average wait times in the ER and for outpatient appointments, and the time it takes for mobile crisis teams to arrive on site after dispatch. Technology has helped BHL ensure that individuals in need get access to the appropriate level of care as soon as possible and as close to home as possible, that crisis teams are safe and operating at maximum efficiency, and that providers are held accountable for access.


Supported by Phoenix House
Horizon Village, Horizon Health Services
Sanborn, NY

At Horizon Village, the most popular treatment providers are Dakota and Hope — two golden retrievers trained to offer comfort and fill the emotional void created by substance use. The therapy dog program is one element of a comprehensive program that acknowledges that recovery from addictions requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, a caring environment, and continuous support. Horizon Village welcomes youth, adults and veterans with substance use disorders into a comfortable therapeutic setting for a 3–4 month intensive regimen designed to give them a new start to life. A 13,000 sq. ft. wellness center, outdoor recreational facilities in a 14.5 acre campus, and well-equipped kitchen bear testimony to the fact that physical wellness is as important as counseling. The holistic approach boasts success — 85 percent of those who enroll in the program complete their stay, compared to a 57 percent completion rate in the state. Horizon Village’s program has helped to reduce arrests and homelessness and graduates to remain employed.


Supported by National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Missouri Department of Mental Health
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
Chicago, IL

C4, the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, was woven into the legacy that Mental Health First Aid USA is building, right at the program’s inception. Chosen as a pilot training site when the National Council for Mental Wellbeing introduced the national program, C4 realized that Mental Health First Aid would extend its mission. The program was a perfect response to community partners — homeless shelters, social service agencies, the criminal justice system, schools, universities, health clinics, and others — that wanted to be better equipped to help people with mental illness. As the national Mental Health First Aid program has grown exponentially to train more than 150,000 individuals, C4 has kept pace — training nearly 2,500 individuals and partnering with more than 400 organizations. Today, a full-time program manager and 16 instructors are helping to meeting the growing demand for Mental Health First Aid in the community. An independent evaluation has shown that more than 40 percent of those who’ve taken the course from C4 have already used Mental Health First Aid skills to save lives and connect people to care. Others report increased confidence to recognize mental health problems, intervene in a mental health crisis, or refer people to help.


Brandon Marshall

Founder, Brandon Marshall Foundation

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall set the all-time NFL record for receptions in a single game with 21 catches. He is one of five players in NFL history to catch more than 100 passes in three consecutive seasons. However, even more impressive and inspiring than Marshall’s football prowess are his contributions to the community and to raising mental health awareness. Marshall knew he was violating NFL policy when he wore green shoes for Mental Illness Awareness Week in October 2013. He paid a $10,500 fine because of it and tweeted, “Football is my platform not my purpose. This fine is nothing compared to the conversation started and awareness raised. Inspired by his own journey to come to terms with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, Brandon vowed that he would devote himself to making a difference in the lives of others struggling to cope with mental illness. Brandon went public with his diagnosis and created a foundation to realize his goal of giving others the same chance at recovery that he had. The Brandon Marshall Foundation works to educate, advocate, and help those who’ve lost hope build a better life.


Supported by Relias Learning
Nancy Paull
CEO, Stanley Street Treatment and Resources
Fall River, MA

Nancy Paull, CEO of Stanley Street Treatment and Resources, is a leader who has always been way ahead of her time. She pioneered the ‘Healthcare Amazon’ concept in Fall River decades before one-stop shopping for healthcare, ACOs, and health homes were trending nationally. Her comprehensive approach has saved lives and given people with substance use disorders, mental illness and HIV/AIDS a chance to have multiple health needs addressed with one visit.

Her grandfather, a physician who emphasized the importance of treating and respecting the whole person, inspired her commitment to helping others. She started at SSTAR as a counselor and worked her way up to CEO. She stood up for what she knew was best for the most vulnerable when community members protested at having an addictions treatment facility in their backyard. She helped frontline workers gain state certification as they learned to deliver better care. Paull has ensured that there are no gaps in care for the SSTAR serves. She listens to her patients and they vouch that SSTAR will find a way to meet their needs. Paull has shared her expertise on integrating HIV/AIDS care into drug treatment programs in Egypt, India, Indonesia and Russia.


David Lloyd
Founder, MTM Services
Holly Springs, NC

David Lloyd is a leader and a gentleman. He urges behavioral health organizations to operate on better business principles so they can better serve the people in their care, he passionately advocates for the highest standards of customer service, saying “Put your customers at the center of everything.” Lloyd himself embodies the “Nordstrom principle” in his interactions — with clients, colleagues, partners, and team members. He is one of healthcare’s foremost management pundits known for his “We can do this” strategies. Lloyd has more than 45 years of experience in private for-profit and community behavioral health settings. A prolific speaker and author, Lloyd’s expertise in turning data into actionable information is evident in the popular SPQM Dashboards that he helped to engineer, which have transformed behavioral health analysis and advocacy nationwide. As a leader at a community behavioral health organization, Lloyd enhanced service capacity by 66 percent and reduced wait times for care by 87 percent. He went on to adapt his experience to lead more than 700 organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Netherlands through change management, leadership development, practice improvement, and accountable care delivery to enhance access to care, increase revenue, and improve health outcomes for thousands.


Mary Ruiz
President/CEO, Manatee Glens
Bradenton, FL

Mental illness makes the headlines in the context of a tragedy. Families say they could not access the mental healthcare they knew their children needed. The news dies down, and the next family in need is again unable to get care for their child. Mary Ruiz, President/CEO of Manatee Glens, wants to end this vicious cycle. Her untiring advocacy has brought hope to families across Florida.  She mobilized the grassroots and demonstrated to legislators that children and youth with emotional problems can stay at home, in school, and out of trouble if they get needed treatment and robust community supports. She secured $6.75 million in state funding for Community Action Treatment teams to better meet the needs of families with youth with serious behavioral health challenges. CAT teams — the home and community-based alternative to institutionalization — have served  nearly 750 youth, ages 11-21, through integrated health teams offering 24/7 support for mental health, substance use, and primary care needs. Ruiz demonstrated to the Florida House Appropriations Committee that if only nine children were diverted from residential treatment in each CAT Team, it would pay for the services of seventy-five children. She also personalized the issue so legislators could embrace the issue as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Ruiz knows that only many voices raised together can create a groundswell and shape policy. That’s why she focused as much on building grassroots advocacy as she did on lobbying decision makers.


Texas Council of Community Centers 
Austin, TX

The Texas Council of Community Centers has demonstrated that persistence pays off when it comes to advocacy. As a result of the association’s efforts, Texas is investing more than $300 million to expand and enhance mental health and substance use disorder services. It’s eliminating waiting lists for treatment, supporting the spread of Mental Health First Aid by training thousands of public school teachers and the general public, and allowing community mental health centers to significantly expand current service capacity. The Texas Council prepares centers for a rapidly changing healthcare environment with more opportunities to serve more people with mental illness. By supporting legislation that directs integration of physical and mental health services and promoting the role of community centers in an 1115 demonstration waiver, the Texas Council set the stage for real transformation of mental health service delivery. The association has achieved these remarkable outcomes through strong leadership and collaboration, engaging stakeholders — the Texas Association of Counties, Conference of Urban Counties, Sheriff’s Association of Texas, and County Judges and Commissioners Association — and inspiring them to fight for mental health funding to build stronger communities.


John Kasich 
Governor of the State of Ohio
Columbus, OH

Governor Kasich fought a long and hard battle to get Ohio on board with Medicaid expansion, benefiting thousands of Ohioans with substance use and mental disorders. Despite strong opposition, Gov. Kasich was firm in his support for Medicaid expansion, telling critics that they “need to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.” He insisted that Medicaid expansion would benefit those with the greatest need. Since 2012, he worked around the state to coalesce opinions on this issue across business, healthcare, education, behavioral health, law enforcement, consumer and other leaders. Gov. Kasich has helped to extend Medicaid coverage to 275,000 low-income Ohioans. His $2.5 billion budget “adjustment” approved by the Ohio Controlling Board injects $482 million of federal Medicaid expansion funds into the current fiscal year’s budget and another $2 billion into the following fiscal year. Gov. Kasich says “I had a chance to… bring Ohio money back to Ohio to do some things that frankly needed to be done. And that’s to treat the mentally ill, to get them across the bridge so they can get employment… And also to make sure the working poor have a system that makes sense, instead of showing up and getting all their healthcare in emergency rooms.” Ohio expects that 60,000 people with addiction disorders and another 55,000 with mental illnesses will be covered as a result of Medicaid expansion.