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BISAC & Rosehill Receiving Mental Health Mahalo Awards

May 15, 2019, 2:55 PM HST (Updated May 15, 2019, 2:55 PM)
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Mental Health America of Hawai‘i (MHAH) is hosting its 14th annual Mental Health Mahalo Awards luncheon on May 21, 2019, honoring outstanding local mental health leaders across the state. The event will also showcase the organization’s rollout of Mental Health First Aid training, a nationally recognized, evidence-based program that teaches individuals how to triage and help someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

“In Hawai‘i, 64% of adults and 23% of children do not receive needed mental health treatment,” said Trisha Kajimura, executive director of MHAH. “Mental illnesses are preventable in some cases and treatable in most. It is something we should all be talking about and a routine part of taking care of ourselves. Mental health conditions touch everyone and are a part of every family. They are nothing to be ashamed of. The people and organizations we recognize with the Mental Health Mahalo Awards are those who truly have made a difference in their community or statewide in advancing the treatment and understanding of mental health. They truly are heroes.”

Since 1942, MHAH (previously called Mental Health Association of Hawai‘i) has been dedicated to advocating for improved care and treatment of people with mental illness through program development, training, education, and advocacy. It has helped launch major mental health organizations, such as the state’s Suicide and Crisis Line, Mental Health Kokua, and Hale Kipa. MHAH was also a major driving force in the improvement of care of patients at the state hospital in Kaneohe in the 1940s and 1950s and helped push the passage of parity in health insurance coverage for mental health treatment in the 1990s.

Every year, the Awards luncheon brings the mental health community together to share in a stigma-free environment where each person’s mental health experience is respected and honored. While mental health is part of everyone’s daily experience and whether some share freely or are dealing with an issue that they choose not to share about, the event respects and honors individuals’ own journey.

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The Mental Health Mahalo Awards will be held on May 21, at 11:30 a.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel. Tickets are $68 and can be obtained online or by calling (808) 521-1846. Ticket sales end on Friday, May 17, at noon.

This year’s honorees are:

Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) – Outstanding Community Mental Health Leader  

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Established in 1964, BISAC has expanded its scope of services from a small halfway house to a distinguished CARF accredited program addressing substance abuse and mental health issues. BISAC inspires individuals and families to reclaim their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and community trauma, including the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.

Heather Rosehill – Outstanding Mental Health Consumer Advocate

After graduating from Kamehameha schools and UC Santa Cruz, Heather struggled with bipolar disorder and staying employed. She found her way to Hale ‘Oluea Clubhouse, where she participated as a member and received the support and encouragement that led her through recovery. Heather is now the Director of The Kona Paradise Club, giving back to the organization that supported her, and inspiring members of the clubhouse to believe that they can achieve their dreams, like her.

Alan R. Spector, LSCW – Outstanding Community Mental Health Leader  

A leading mental health provider in private practice, Spector works tirelessly to help LGBT youth thrive, particularly adolescents struggling with gender dysphoria. In 2012, he co-founded Equality Hawai‘i, which led Hawai‘i’s landmark successful fight for marriage equality. Alan is being honored for his outstanding achievement and contribution in both individual and community work.

 Captain Mike Lambert – Outstanding Government Leader

A Honolulu Police Department Captain in the newly created Community Outreach Unit, Lambert has been a leader in uniting HPD and social service providers in serving people experiencing homelessness. He is the driving force behind HELP, a program that partners officers and outreach workers. He has also been a critical partner in the new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program and helped HPD to be one of four cities nationwide to get federal funding to start a Crisis Intervention Team program in Honolulu.

Mahealani Sims-Tulba – Outstanding Youth Mental Health Advocate

As a survivor of bullying, Sims-Tulba founded the Be Respectful and Value Everyone (B.R.A.V.E.) non-profit organization in 2013 to bring awareness to students against bullying, by speaking to schools while promoting the values of kindness and respectfulness, goal setting, personal development and motivation. She works diligently in the community to spread her message. She wrote and illustrated the book, “It’s Okay to Be Different” based on her experiences and hosts her own radio and TV shows.

Bob and Harriet Callopy – Outstanding Family Advocate

The Collopys have been dedicated servants for mental health on Maui since 1998, providing NAMI Family to Family 12-week classes and a monthly family support group. Having personally navigated a fractured system to assist their son with serious mental illness, their personal experience and skills have provided exponential amounts of support for other families on Maui.

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