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DHS news release

Oct. 2, 2006

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738


Program contact: Madeline Olson 503-945-9704

13 mental health excellence awards to be presented Wednesday in Salem


[Note to editors: More detail available on request.]

Oregonians who are working to improve mental health services -- often behind the scenes -- will be recognized with a series of awards Wednesday in an event coinciding with the state's observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Receiving awards will be medical and mental health professionals, providers, builders, a tribe, a judge and a county mental health department. Award recipients work in Benton, Clackamas, Klamath, Lane, Marion and Multnomah counties.

The awards will be presented Wednesday beginning at 1:30 p.m. in room 50 of Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St., N.E., Salem.

"At any hour of the day or night mental health professionals are doing outstanding work to promote high-quality treatment, effective recovery and integration of consumers into the larger community," said Bob Nikkel, Oregon Department of Human Services assistant director for addictions and mental health. "These awards recognize people for outstanding advocacy, compassion, professionalism and plain old-fashioned hard work."

Recipients of awards, sponsored annually by the DHS Addictions and Mental Health Division, will be:

Benton County recipient

  • Benton County Mental Health Department for responding vigorously to the needs of people with both mental illness and substance-abuse issues, including delivering services to women, involving the whole family in children's care and opening a medical-dental clinic.

Clackamas County recipient

  • Costa Pacific Communities and West Hills Development for their commitment to integrating housing for people with mental illness into the new Villebois residential development in Wilsonville.

Klamath County recipient

  • Leroy Jackson Jr. of Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services for his commitment to overcoming cultural differences to engage prevention and treatment services in the mainstream Klamath community.

Lane County recipients

  • The Child Center in Springfield for advocating for improved children's mental health services, including involving families in its work, long before "family friendly" became a buzzword.
  • Paul Helms, M.D., a Lane County psychiatrist, for his commitment to working with colleagues at all hours, resulting in prompt patient treatment that often avoided inpatient psychiatric care.

Marion County recipients

  • Oregon State Hospital ward 41A, whose staff has displayed a consistent approach in preparing patients for successful reintegration into the community.
  • State Hospital mental health specialist Debra Lamp and Recovery, Inc., which thanks to the efforts of Lamp and partners conducts 10 weekly meetings at Oregon State Hospital to promote patient recovery.
  • State Hospital psychiatric nurses Lonna Chase, Kathy Roy and Mesme Tomason for exemplary work in promoting patient recovery.
  • Cindy Koch, recently named State Hospital assistant director for vocational services, who overcame obstacles to create a sheltered vocational workshop and developed competitive job placements for hospital patients.
  • Erinn Kelley-Siel, the Governor's chief policy adviser, for her energy, guidance and strategic thinking in helping the state move toward replacing Oregon State Hospital and strengthening the community mental health system.

Multnomah County recipients

  • Nan Waller, Multnomah County chief family law judge, for bringing together diverse interests in support of children and families and to advance the Albertina Kerr-sponsored Wraparound Oregon project.
  • Nelle Kesterson, adult case manager for DHS contractor Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, for her energy and compassion in overcoming barriers to help patients recover.
  • Legacy Emanuel Hospital Child and Adolescent treatment program in Portland for its child- and family-centered model of care that resulted in a 76 percent reduction in patient seclusion and restraint.

In 1990 Congress designated the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of efforts to raise awareness about mental illness.