NMHA Honors Four Young Adults for Work in Mental Health

National Mental Health Association
Thursday, 10 June 2004

mpower Youth Awards Recognize Youth Educators and Advocates

The National Mental Health Association will recognize four young individuals for their efforts to educate their communities about mental illness and advocate for better policies and services. NMHA will present these outstanding youth with the mpower youth awards on Saturday, June 12, during the NMHA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

The mpower youth award winners are:

Kristina Hebner, a 17-year-old from Staten Island, NY, has transformed her experiences with mental illness into a positive force by becoming a Youth Advocate for the Mental Health Association of New York City's Coordinated Children's Services Initiative. As the Youth Advocate, Kristina founded "M.Y.P.A.T.H," a support group for youth with mental illnesses, and is currently developing a youth empowerment project. Kristina also presents at various conferences and travels to the state Capitol to advocate for a host of mental health issues, including improved mental health care and increased training of law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Adam Oates, a 14-year-old from Lawndale, NC, co-facilitates a support group for youth with mental health concerns and recently led a youth rally called "Stomping Out the Stigma." Adam also speaks to various groups and local and state officials about reducing the stigma associated with youth who have mental illnesses.

Marley Prunty-Lara, a 19-year-old from Sioux Falls, SD, is a passionate mental health advocate. Marley spends much of her time lobbying for various pieces of legislation, including mental health parity. Of note, throughout June, Marley will meet with House and Senate leadership to urge passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act (S. 486/H.R. 953).

Kristy Worthen, 25, is a nationally acclaimed artist living in Salem, AR. Kristy successfully parlayed her artistic talent into mental health advocacy through her creation of a "Mental Health Flag," which is on a national tour being displayed or flown at each state capitol in order to increase awareness of mental health issues and decrease stigma. Kristy also speaks at national and state conferences for mental health groups and has participated in dozens of TV news programs. Notably, Kristy's advocacy has included a private meeting with President George W. Bush, at which he pledged his support for mental health issues by signing her flag.

The mpower youth awards were presented at the closing night dinner of NMHA's annual conference, Justice for All: Fighting for America's Mental Health, in Washington D.C., on June 12th, 2004.

mpower: musicians for mental health is a new youth awareness campaign sponsored by the National Mental Health Association. mpower uses music and musicians as a way to reach youth about depression, substance abuse, suicide and other important issues, and empower them to take action for their own mental health.

The National Mental Health Association is America's oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide, NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research and service.

For more information, or to contact National Mental Health Association, see their website at: www.nmha.org

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