Sep 21, 2022

On September 19, MAMH honored individuals whose work supports mental health and wellness for youth across the Commonwealth at the 109th Friend & Leader awards this September.

At our annual Friend and Leader Award Dinner on September 19th, MAMH celebrated individuals whose work supports mental health and wellness for youth across the Commonwealth.

MA First Lady Lauren Baker speaking at the 2022 Friend and Leader event

First Lady of Massachusetts Lauren Baker

It was a night filled with moving remarks from prominent champions for youth mental health and well being. First Lady of Massachusetts Lauren Baker was honored for her work promoting youth mental health and supporting youth in foster care through the Wonderfund. She emphasized the importance of doing what we can, big or small, to support youth and help them reach their potential. “Whatever it is that you can do, you should do - because it matters, and it makes such a huge difference.”

State Representative Sean Garballey reflected on important behavioral health legislation passed during the last legislative session and the continued prioritization of mental health by the legislature. During his remarks, Rep. Garballey reflected on a previous conversation he had with former First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter in which she advised, “Keep fighting. Keep advocating. Do not let mental health be in the shadows. Talk about it. Make it part of the conversation.” That, he noted, is what Massachusetts has done and continues to do.

“Together, we will work to solve all these issues.”
UMass President Marty Meehan, 2022 Friend & Leader Youth Mental Health Advocacy Award Winner

With youth advocates in attendance, several shared their own mental health experiences and journeys. Their stories reflected their ability to overcome challenges and the importance of supporting young people to understand, maintain, and protect their mental health.

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Caption Caroline Hanson, Senior, Notre Dame Academy (left) and Lesly Wakefield, Graduate, Bridgewater State University (right) sharing their personal experiences

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Ted Wayman, WCVB Channel 5 reporter

Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter for WCVB Channel 5 Ted Wayman closed the night with a powerful and moving testimony of his personal struggles with alcohol and substance use. He stressed the need for people to understand that recovery is possible and that there are many options to find help. Waymen discussed his struggles openly for the first time earlier this year on WCVB.

“There are a lot of mental health resources out there for people, and it changes lives.” he said. “Sometimes I look in a mirror because I know they changed my life.”

Thanks to our honorees, sponsors, and all our supporters who helped make our 2022 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.

“This is about the persons within the village who are committed to this issue.”
MAMH Governing Board Member Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., 2022 Friend & Leader Lifetime Advocacy Award Winner

If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch our virtual program below!

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