Published On: Tue, Feb 7th, 2017

Countywide Action Alliance For Mental Health Celebrates Community Action On Mental Illness

2017 Voice Awards Winners: From left: Ana Cristina Lerner (Film Production), Donna Gephart (Author), Dr. Seth Bernstein (Community Engagement), Johanna Kandel (Advocacy), Gerda Klein (Leadership), Dr. Holly Katz (Service Training), Megan O‘Matz and Stephen Hobbs (Sun Sentinel Print/Digital Media)

Voice Awards Winners: From left: Ana Cristina Lerner (Film Production), Donna Gephart (Author), Dr. Seth Bernstein (Community Engagement), Johanna Kandel (Advocacy), Gerda Klein (Leadership), Dr. Holly Katz (Service Training), Megan O‘Matz and Stephen Hobbs (Sun Sentinel Print/Digital Media)

With more than 200 attending from a diverse cross-section of the Palm Beach County community, the high powered, inspiring and healing call-to-action 2016 Voice Awards luncheon program held at the Kravis Center, Cohen Pavilion celebrated strides by key community leaders in “breaking the silence” on mental illness countywide. With an audience filled with residents, educators, government officials, healthcare and business leaders, employers, employees, religious leaders and media, the event presented by the Palm Beach County Action Alliance for Mental Health and underwritten by the Lukens Foundation encouraged critical community conversations to increase support for families, friends, neighbors and colleagues in crisis. The audience included PBC residents, educators, elected government officials and legislators, healthcare and business leaders, employers, employees, religious leaders and media.

Driven by Boca Raton’s Promise and hosted by its emboldened “I AM 1 Women’s auxiliary of moms and siblings, the program debuted a 7-minute original film “We Are One” produced by Boca Raton-based Information Television Network (ITV) featuring several women in Palm Beach County sharing their personal family struggles and losses and the impact on siblings, marriages, friends, schools, co-workers, workplaces and neighborhood sports.  As guests arrived, they viewed an interpretive gallery display: “Mental Health HEAD ON” created by the students of the FAU College of Nursing that showcases perspectives into ‘what is going on the in head’ of a patient struggling with mental illness. Following the presentation of the VOICE AWARDS, one Palm Beach County mother Ladi March from Riviera Beach shared her and her son’s story and her vision “Our Kind of Possible”.

Dr. Michael Lukens, Donna Biase, Rita Thrasher, Jean Teneus, Craig Fabel, Marla Kosec

Dr. Michael Lukens, Donna Biase, Rita Thrasher, Jean Teneus, Craig Fabel, Marla Kosec

Grand benefactor Marla Kosec, a major contributor to BRP who lost two siblings to mental illness and whose mother is co-founder of Boca Raton’s Promise, concluded the program “In Gratitude” to those who are using their voices to break the deafening silence that devastates families, preventing them from seeking the critical help and services they need. Kosec continues to honor the memory Lord Anthony Jacobs who over the past years entrusted the leadership of BRP with more than $400,000 in his lifetime to help turn up the volume of encouraging people to talk about mental health in Palm Beach Florida. Calling both London and Palm Beach home, Lord Jacobs believed that the small relentlessly determined group voice of Boca Raton’s Promise would continue to achieve and accomplish much more, with help, which has proven to be a resounding truth.

Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Rita Thrasher, Ted Bernstein

Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Rita Thrasher, Dr. Seth Bernstein

Rita Thrasher. Marla Kosec

Rita Thrasher. Marla Kosec

“Lord Anthony Jacobs contributed so much as an individual who inspired this organization to continue their combined efforts to walk the walk and talk the talk,” shared Kosec.

Notable attendees included U.S. Representative Lois Frankel who “broke her own silence” in her welcome remarks; U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch; Senator Joseph Abruzzo, State of Florida; Commissioner Dave Kerner, Palm Beach County; Mayor Steve Grant, Boynton Beach;
Mayor Bernard Featherman, Highland Beach. Luncheon emcee was Bonnie S Kaye of Kaye Communications PR & Marketing; speakers and Voice Award presenters were U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch; Dr. Phil Heller, Psy.D.; Keith Oswald, Chief Academic Officer, School District of PBC; Kim Mazauskas, Boca Raton’s Promise, Board of Directors; Rev. Mayor (Boynton Beach) Woodrow Hay, Boynton Beach Mental Health Committee; Dr. Mike Kane, School District PBC/Counselor Specialist, Steering Committee, PBC Action Alliance; Marsha Martino, Director NAMI-PBC and Rita Thrasher, PBC Action Alliance/Presenting Chairman’s Award.
Past Voice Award Winners: Jennifer Silliman, Kim Cotton Williams, Rita Thrasher, Dr. Elaine Rotenberg, Ro Rabozzi, Lynn Hubbard.

Past Voice Award Winners: Jennifer Silliman, Kim Cotton Williams, Rita Thrasher, Dr. Elaine Rotenberg, Ro Rabozzi, Lynn Hubbard

2016 Voice Awards were presented in the following categories:

Dr. Phil Heller, Ed Frontera

Dr. Phil Heller, Ed Frontera

  • Advocacy: Johanna Kandel
  • Community Engagement: Seth Bernstein
  • Film Production: Ana Cristina Lerner
  • Community Leadership: Gerda Klein
  • Service and Training: Holly Katz
  • Author: Donna Gephart, Lilly & Dunkin
  • Chairman’s Award: Sun Sentinel for its recent expose “Dying For Help “on mental health in South Florida about families struggling with severely mentally ill relatives, then becoming victims of their violence. The feature revealed how Florida’s health care system is too stressed to prevent the tragedies.
Jon Kaye, Alisa Cohen, Bonnie Kaye, Kari Oeltjen

Jon Kaye, Alisa Cohen, Bonnie Kaye, Kari Oeltjen

Demonstrating that emotional and mental illnesses are more common than many think. Key statistics shared during the luncheon include that 1 in 4 adults will have a mental illness in their lifetime; mental illness outnumbers cancer, diabetes and heart attacks combined; one-half of all mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 22% of middle school students reported considering suicide (2011). These illnesses are related to bullying, dropout, absenteeism, violence; it affects all ages, cultures, faiths, workplaces and schools. Because is not taught, nor talked about the silence fear and shame prevent those who need help and their loved ones from seeking it.

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Kim Dillon, Ro Rabozzi, Seth Bernstein, Ladi March, Beth King, Andrea Gurvitz

 

Rita Thrasher, Gary Lesser

Rita Thrasher, Gary Lesser

For more information on the Boca Raton’s Promise, its mission, vision and programming and/or the Palm Beach County Action Alliance, visit;

www.bocaratonspromise.org,

email info@bocaratonspromise.org or call (561) 866-1850.

 

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