National Council will Honor Five Distinguished Recipients with Awards of Excellence During NatCon22

WASHINGTON, DC (April 4) – The National Council for Mental Wellbeing will give Awards of Excellence to five distinguished recipients during NatCon22, the industry’s biggest conference.

It will be the National Council’s first conference held in person since 2019, when thousands of attendees gathered for NatCon19 in Nashville. More than 4,500 people are expected to attend NatCon22 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center outside of Washington, D.C., April 11-13.

“We’re so grateful that we can gather once again, and we’re even more gratified that we can honor our 2022 Awards of Excellence winners in person,” National Council President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “The winners of our Peer Specialist, Lifetime Achievement and Behavioral Health Leadership awards have accomplished so much over the past year against incredible odds, and we can’t overstate what they mean to the field, the National Council and their communities.”

The National Council’s Peer Specialist Award recognizes those with lived experience who work in mental health and substance use treatment, using their wisdom and strength to help peers on their own road to recovery.

The National Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made a real, lasting and far-reaching impact on the lives of people living with mental illnesses and substance use challenges.

The National Council’s Behavioral Health Leadership Award recognizes an organization that has distinguished itself by improving care and outcomes in its community.

This year’s Peer Specialist Award winners are Kathy Raney and Tina Simpson.

Kathy Raney serves as a care access coordinator at Centerstone of Illinois, in Marion, Illinois. Kathy has been in recovery for more than 20 years. She has provided direct care and supervision for 27 years in rural Illinois, sharing her story to help others and providing guidance to help clients overcome barriers to access. Kathy received her Wellness Recovery Action Plan certification in 2004 and received her Certified Recovery Support Specialist certification in 2014.

Tina Simpson serves as a peer specialist supervisor at Spindletop Center in Beaumont, Texas. Tina is in long-term recovery and has overcome addiction, homelessness and incarceration. Tina has received certification as a Certified Peer Specialist, recovery coach, Wellness Recovery Action Plan and Whole Health Action Management facilitator and advanced level Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitator. She uses her extensive training and life experience to connect with clients and help them find their own personal path to recovery.

The National Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners are Dr. John Kelly and David Woodlock.

Dr. John Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School, founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, program director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service, and the associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Kelly continues to see patients, conduct research and is a tireless public advocate on behalf of those with substance use disorders and mental health challenges.

David Woodlock is vice chair of the board of The Coalition for Behavioral Health. Woodlock has helped thousands of clients throughout a distinguished career lasting nearly 50 years, focusing on the delivery of care through an integrated model. Woodlock, who just retired, served most recently as CEO of ICL, a human services organization whose innovative programming, including its integrated Hub in Brooklyn, NY, has transformed neighborhoods. He also served as Deputy Commissioner for Children and Families during a 30-year career at the New York State Office of Mental Health.

This year’s Behavioral Health Leadership Award winner is Vibrant Emotional Health in New York City.

The new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, goes live on July 16, 2022, and 988 will improve access to rapid and lifesaving mental health and substance use care. The new emergency hotline will be built on the infrastructure built by SAMHSA and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health in New York City. Vibrant has taken steps to raise funds, distribute the money and support planning efforts among states. Vibrant continues to work with its network of crisis centers to build capacity, establish national back up centers and provide leadership on this issue of national importance.

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.

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