Oct 10, 2023

On September 21, MAMH honored individuals whose work supports mental health and wellness for youth across the Commonwealth at the 110th Friend & Leader awards.

Our annual Friend & Leader Award Dinner was a night filled with moving remarks from prominent leaders whose work contributes to progress in awareness, health promotion, prevention, and effective treatment for children and adults affected by mental and behavioral health challenges throughout Massachusetts.

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Boston Children’s Hospital and its President and CEO, Dr. Kevin Churchwell, were honored for their continued advocacy and work to ensure equitable access to mental health care for all children by substantially broadening and strengthening Boston Children’s mental health care services, including the hospital’s new affiliation with Franciscan Children’s Hospital. Dr. Joseph Mitchell, President and CEO of Franciscan Children’s, highlighted how the new partnership will transform mental health care for children across Massachusetts in his introduction.

“There is no physical health without mental health.”
Dr. Kevin Churchwell, 2023 Mental Health Advocacy Award Winner

Known as the “equity voice in the room,” Michael Curry, President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, continues to work to address health disparities and promote health equity. During his remarks, Michael reflected on more than 30 years of his advocacy for civil rights advocacy, health reform, and health equity.

In recognition of her drive and compassion to create permanent supportive housing for individuals and families moving out of homelessness, Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director of Pine Street Inn, was honored. In describing Lyndia, Massachusetts’ Former Secretary of Health and Human Services MaryLou Sudders said, “She finds humanity and uniqueness in every person who is homeless.”

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With youth advocates in attendance, Sophie Nystuen, a senior at Brookline High School, spoke about her work to create a space for her peers to express themselves as a way to maintain positive mental health. Sophie and other youth leaders’ efforts to openly talk about mental health, to remind us that it’s okay to not be okay, and to use their experiences to promote change are the very definition of leadership.

Thanks to our honorees, sponsors, and all our supporter who helped make our 2023 Friend & Leader Award Dinner a huge success. Your support is everything! We are stronger when we stand together to promote mental health and well being of residents of the Commonwealth.

“You are all people who just don't admire the problem. You work to make it better, making our communities stronger, healthier, and putting Massachusetts in the position to be a Commonwealth, a place that cares about each other.”
Kim Driscoll, Massachusetts Lt. Governor

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