Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care hosted the first annual RISE Awards at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness in Phoenix, Arizona this morning to celebrate Resilience, Innovation, Service and Empowerment in the transformation of the behavioral healthcare system.
There was a time not too long ago that many professionals in behavioral health kept their work in the closet, or hung their heads low. Although the work they were doing was directed towards improving the lives of others, some were embarrassed to be associated with mental health. What a refreshing contrast it was today as the Board of Directors for Mercy Maricopa proudly celebrated with panache the accomplishments of peers, advocates and providers.
The event commenced with a YouTube video showing how the staff and artists at PSA Art Awakenings crafted the unique and striking awards for the event. It was fitting that Sara Marriott, who just last week accepted the National Council for Behavioral Health Inspiring Hope Award for Artistic Expression, also received a much deserved RISE award. The symbolism of the award and the design and production of them in the studios of PSA Art Awakenings was plum perfect.
Attorney and mental health pioneer Charles “Chick” Arnold served as special emcee of this event and also received a Lifetime Achievement RISE award for his leadership with Arnold v. Sarn. He called to the stage RISE winners in three categories, Recovery and Resilience, Health and Wellness, and Innovation. He was joined by Mercy Maricopa Chief Executive Officer Eddy Broadway and Board Chair and Dignity Health CFO Matthew Cox. There were 35 nominees for the eight RISE awards.
Two youth leaders, Jackson McAuliff and Austin Dailey were recognized for their success in leading and supporting other teens with Recovery and Resiliency RISE awards. Long time NAMI champion and family member Gloria Abril received a standing ovation from several in the crowd as her name was called, and Chick referenced her support of the annual walk.
We were very proud that Recovery Innovation’s own Aaron “Arrow” Foster received a RISE award for health and wellness. Chick read from the nomination, “When he began working in the behavioral health field in Arizona, Mr. Foster noticed that many programs were assisting people in achieving their recovery yet were not developing techniques to assist people to move beyond recovery and into a life of meaning and purpose. The need to find our place in society, not as a person in recovery, but as a citizen moving toward self-actualization, was being overlooked.” Wonderful… and very proud.
Other recipients included Alicia Gonzales from Foundation for Senior Living, long time behavioral health leader John Moore from Marc Community Resources, and Dr. Rodd Aking of Trinity Adult Medicine, who has forged integrated primary care for persons with Serious Mental Illness with clinics operated by Partners in Recovery in collaboration with their CEO Christy Dye.
RISE. It’s a great metaphor for recovery. It’s also a call for continuing our collective impact as peer leaders, professionals, and provider organizations in behavioral health.