National Council for Mental Wellbeing Honors Leaders in Mental Health and Addiction

Sophia Majlessi
(202) 621-1631

Awards of Excellence honorees celebrated at NatCon19

NASHVILLE, TENN. (March 26, 2019) – The National Council for Mental Wellbeing (National Council) will honor 18 individuals and organizations tonight at the Gaylord Opryland Resort for the Awards of Excellence Celebration in conjunction with NatCon19, the National Council’s Annual Conference.

The National Council’s Awards of Excellence celebrate leaders in behavioral health care for their ingenuity, hard work and dedication to improving the lives of those living with mental illness and addictions.

“Awards of Excellence honorees are a beacon for the behavioral health field,” said Jeff Richardson, board chair of the National Council. “Each honoree is an individual or organization that the rest of the field looks to emulate. Tonight, we will recognize these honorees not only to highlight their achievements, but to inspire others as they help those living with mental illness or addictions.”

This year’s honorees represent a diverse array of individuals and organizations, from state representatives like Rep. Sara Feigenholtz of Illinois, to peer support workers like Trish Bleth, to organizations like Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and the Mental Health Association of New York State. Each honoree made a difference in behavioral health this past year, whether passing bills into law or providing the best care possible for those who needed it most.

The National Council will also present Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the field and 15 years of leading the organization. The Honorable Patrick Kennedy will receive the Distinguished Service Award and Alexa Eggleston of the Conrad H. Hilton Foundation will receive the Excellence in Philanthropy Award to recognize their hard work and advocacy on behalf of the behavioral health field.

“Linda Rosenberg’s fearless leadership helped propel behavioral health to the forefront of the health care agenda and introduced a number of initiatives that improved our ability to provide quality, accessible mental health and addictions services,” said Richardson. “Her achievements have set the tone for not only the National Council but the field. There is no one more deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The honoree of this year’s Innovation Award, sponsored by The Scattergood Foundation, will be announced at the Awards of Excellence Celebration. The five finalists are attending NatCon19 and will be chosen by their peers through popular vote.

NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos of award winners will be available on the National Council’s Flickr account. Please contact if you have a specific photo request.


National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,000 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1.5 million Americans have been trained.

The Honorees

Lifetime Achievement

Linda Rosenberg, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Excellence in Philanthropy

Alexa Eggleston, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Distinguished Service

The Honorable Patrick Kennedy

Doc of the Year

Lloyd Sederer, M.D., New York State Office of Mental Health

Excellence in Addictions Treatment

The Howard Center

Excellence in Advocacy – Individual Achievement, Sponsored by Sunovion

Marie Williams, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Excellence in Advocacy – Organizational Achievement, Sponsored by Sunovion

Mental Health Association in New York State

Excellence in Advocacy by an Elected Official, Sponsored by Sunovion

Representative Sara Feigenholtz, Illinois House of Representatives, 12th District

Excellence in Behavioral Health Care Management, Sponsored by Mental Health Risk Retention Group and Negley

Ozark Center

Excellence in Mental Health First Aid Community Impact


Excellence in Technology, Sponsored by Qualifacts


Excellence in Whole Person Care

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health

Peer Support Worker of the Year

Trish Bleth, Terros Health

Visionary Leadership

David Evans, Integral Care

Visionary Leadership

Louis M. Dekmar, LeGrange Police Department, International Association of Chiefs of Police

Visionary Leadership

Michael Hogan, Hogan Health Solutions

Visionary Leadership

Mark P. Fontaine, Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association

Visionary Leadership

Emily Jenkins, J.D., Arizona Council of Human Service Providers

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,400 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.