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 Council honors ambassadors

  TRENTON – Linda Bean isn’t about to let her son die in vain.
The 25-year-old soldier, Coleman, survived war, but lost a battle against mental illness in 2008.
In the few years since his suicide, Linda has fought tirelessly for better psychiatric services for returning soldiers and continues to battle the stigma that often prevents them from getting the treatment that can save their lives.
The mother from Milltown has delivered her message to Congress and the Veterans Administration and has proposed legislation in her son’s name that would offer more outreach and support for soldiers like him.
“If Coleman were here, he would have wanted to do whatever he could to help his friends,” Linda explains.
Linda is one of 22 volunteers, advocates, professionals, organizations and agencies that were honored today with the Ambassadors’ Award issued by the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma. The third annual awards ceremony was held at the New Jersey Forensic Science Technology Center in Hamilton.
Among the award recipients were other survivors of suicide, a lawyer, a physician, a hair stylist, a detective, a minister, an acting troupe, a college dean, a social worker, and members of a peer support team ¬¬– all of whom have dedicated their time to trying to eradicate stigma in New Jersey.
  “We applaud all the recipients here today,” said Council Executive Director Celina Gray. “Your partnership will continue to be critical,” Department of Human Services Deputy Commissioner Kevin Martone told the recipients and others attending the ceremony. “We need to ensure that people with mental illness feel like they are part of a community and feel comfortable reaching out for help when they need it.”

In addition to Bean, the other recipients are:
Arts Unbound, Inc. of Orange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the artistic achievement of youth, adults and senior citizens with disabilities.
Bryan Campbell, a Princeton hairstylist who began volunteering to raise mental health awareness after learning that his colleague’s compassion deterred the suicide of a client who was getting her hair done in anticipation of ending her life.
Collier High School, Morganville, Monmouth County, for its progressive approach to education that supports and stimulates student achievement and raises awareness about stigma among both students and parents.
Christine Driscoll, Executive Director, Care Plus Foundation, Bergen County, for her dedication to public awareness about mental health and stigma through innovative educational programming and presentations at Bergen Community College and the greater Bergen County community.
Daniel J. Farrell, a lawyer with the Community Health Law Project in Collingswood who has volunteered for 20 years to help people with mental illnesses who have been denied Social Security.
Marvin Gorsky, an Essex County social worker who has over 30 years of experience working in the mental health field.
Michael Jones,  a veteran from Brick Township who has been providing support and education to returning veterans and their families and has been doing so for over 11 years, including serving as a member of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr. Mary Curran De Joseph, a Palmyra doctor dedicated to raising awareness about stigma and recovery.
Jamisin Manganelli, a Bergen County clinician and advocate who lost her mother to suicide, serves on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and founded The A.N.G.E.L (Awakening New Generations Enhancing Lives) Initiative, which promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Detective Kenneth Martin of Hackensack, who has worked for years with school youth and is presently working on a project to help raise mental health awareness for law enforcement and the community they serve.
Mental Health Players of Morris County, a volunteer-supported service coordinated through the Mental Health Association of Morris County’s Community Education Program.  The troupe’s interactive performances educate people about mental health.
The Rev. Barbara Miles, Director of Pastoral Care at Community Medical Center in Toms River, for her extensive efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues among clergy.
NAMI NJ “Every Mind Matters” and Greater Brunswick Charter School of Middlesex County for their collaboration on an interactive student education initiative that also provides teacher-friendly resource materials on mental illness.
New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, for incorporating mental health awareness into its holistic Vision of Hope of Community Development Corporation (VOHCDC).
Maureen O’Brien, who headed the Special Offenders Unit in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and works to improve services in the criminal justice system for people with mental illnesses. She is currently orchestrating Crisis Intervention Training in Union County for police officers and mental health personnel
Peer Outreach Support Team- Mental Health Association of New Jersey, a group of mental health consumers that provide peer support and education in Atlantic, Hudson, Ocean and Union counties.
Piscataway High School Staff, Students and ROTC, for opening a chapter of A.I.R. – Attitudes in Reverse, a stigma-fighting organization formed by the sister of a West Windsor teen who ended his life in 2009.
Andrew J. Rothman, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, for nearly 14 years of front-line work in handling law school students under coping with mental health issues.
Martha Silva, NAMI en ESPANOL, Hudson County, for two decades of work with family support, education and advocacy for Latino families in New Jersey affected by mental illness.
Alicia Stevenson, a Hunterdon County volunteer, mother of daughter living with mental illness, and advocate who works and speaks extensively to raise awareness of mental health stigma.
Dr. Naomi Weinshenker, a psychiatrist and journalist with Media and Entertainment Industry, Passaic County
for her outstanding article in New Jersey Life Health and Beauty magazine as well as other print and broadcast features about mental illness.

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