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DHS news release

October 4, 2005


Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738

Program contact: Bob Nikkel (503) 945-9708

[Editors: Lengthier descriptions of recipients' achievements available on request.]


13 individuals, programs to receive annual mental health awards


Major contributors to strengthening mental health in Oregon will be recognized Wednesday in Salem during a 1:30 p.m. public ceremony in the State Capitol galleria.


Recipients of the 2005 Mental Health Awards for Excellence are from Portland, Salem, Corvallis, Grants Pass, La Grande and Redmond.


"In order to create strong and healthy communities, we must end the stigma so often associated with mental health and substance abuse disorders -- and treatment," Gov. Ted Kulongoski said. "The people to be honored Wednesday are helping Oregon move forward toward that goal -- and it is because of their collective commitment to making mental health services accessible to all Oregonians that we will achieve that goal together."


The award recipients will be:

  • State Sen. Peter Courtney, for his role in advancing insurance parity for mental illness, strengthening Oregon's mental health system and moving toward replacing Oregon State Hospital.
  • Marvin Fickle, M.D., State Hospital superintendent, for his role in elevating legislative and public understanding about the hospital, where he also has contributed to rising employee morale.
  • Jamie Rockwell, administrative assistant for DHS mental health and addiction services, whose work for nearly 30 years has shown a devotion to improving mental health services for Oregon children and adults.
  • Beckie Child, a Portland consumer advocate who has helped adults with serious mental illness to live, work, learn and participate fully while also training consumers and professionals.
  • David Romprey, a Salem consumer advocate who links consumers and decision makers by consulting with agencies, speaking to conferences and advocating for consumers.
  • Cyndy Cook, executive director of Redmond-based Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority, for her leadership in completing exemplary housing projects for mental health consumers.
  • Suzanne Madden, a Center for Human Development geriatric mental health specialist, who has been a leader in developing services in Union County and elsewhere in Eastern Oregon.
  • Darlene Osburn, executive director of a Corvallis drop-in center called Circle of Hope, whose work has given it a reputation as a friendly place for low-income mental health consumers.
  • Neil Falk, M.D., for going well beyond his normal medical practice to show kindness and compassion for mental health consumers facing surgery's fear of the unknown.
  • Mark McKechnie, MSW, a Juvenile Rights Project social worker in Portland who was a leader in promoting mental health practices that ensure children are served closer to home with greater parental involvement.
  • Kim Miller, Options for Southern Oregon executive director in Grants Pass, for expanding opportunities for and understanding of people with mental illness through activities such as camping, a bakery and café, and food-service work.
  • Project ABLE ("A Better Living Experience"), which delivers peer-to-peer supports to help Salem-area consumers in their recovery and enhance their quality of life through life-long empowerment.
  • Central City Concern, a Portland nonprofit that is restoring the 1911 Hotel Alder and operates Old Town Clinic, residential treatment for low-income chemically dependent pregnant women and other services.

"These are just a few of the thousands of Oregonians who work every day to improve the lives of those with mental illness," said Bryan Johnston, Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) interim director. "We are recognizing a few of those who are making 2005 a very good year for mental health in Oregon."

Wednesday's presentations come mid-way through national Mental Illness Awareness Week. The annual awards are sponsored by DHS, NAMI Oregon and the Oregon Psychiatric Association.