Mental Health America of Hawai‘i Honors Local Heroes
Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi recently hosted its 14th annual Mental Health Mahalo Awards luncheon to honor outstanding local mental health leaders across the state. Among this yearʻs honorees were Maui couple Bob and Harriet Collopy, who are a part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“In Hawaiʻi, 64% of adults and 23% of children do not receive needed mental health treatment. Mental illnesses are preventable in some cases and treatable in most. It is something we should all be talking about and a routine part of taking care of ourselves. They are nothing to be ashamed of,” Trisha Kajimura, Executive Director of MHAH, said. “The people and organizations we recognize with the Mental Health Mahalo Awards are those who truly have made a difference in their community or statewide in advancing the treatment and understanding of mental health. They truly are heroes.”
This year’s honorees are listed below:
Bob and Harriet Collopy – Outstanding Family Advocate
The Collopys have been dedicated servants for mental health on Maui since 1998, providing NAMI Family to Family 12-week classes and a monthly family support group. Having personally navigated a fractured system to assist their son with serious mental illness, their personal experience and skills have provided exponential amounts of support for other families on Maui.
Big Island Substance Abuse Council – Outstanding Community Mental Health Leader
Established in 1964, BISAC has expanded its scope of services from a small halfway house to a distinguished CARF accredited program addressing substance abuse and mental health issues. BISAC inspires individuals and families to reclaim their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and community trauma, including the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.
Alan R. Spector, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)– Outstanding Community Mental Health Leader
A leading mental health provider in private practice, Alan works tirelessly to help LGBT youth thrive, particularly adolescents struggling with gender dysphoria. In 2007, he co-founded Equality Hawaiʻi, which led Hawaiʻi’s landmark successful fight for marriage equality. Alan is being honored for his outstanding achievement and contribution in both individual and community work.
Captain Mike Lambert – Outstanding Government Leader
A Honolulu Police Department Captain in the newly created Community Outreach Unit, Mike has been a leader in uniting HPD and social service providers in serving people experiencing homelessness. He is the driving force behind HELP, a program that partners officers and outreach workers. He has also been a critical partner in the new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program and helped HPD to be one of four cities nationwide to get federal funding to start a Crisis Intervention Team program in Honolulu.
Mahealani Sims-Tulba – Outstanding Youth Mental Health Advocate
As a survivor of bullying, Mahealani founded the Be Respectful and Value Everyone non-profit organization in 2013 to bring awareness to students against bullying. The organization works with schools to promote the values of kindness and respectfulness, goal setting, personal development, and motivation. Mahealani works diligently in the community to spread her message. She wrote and illustrated the book, “It’s Okay to Be Different” based on her experiences, and hosts her own radio and TV shows.
Heather Rosehill – Outstanding Mental Health Consumer Advocate
After graduating from Kamehameha schools and UC Santa Cruz, Heather struggled with bipolar disorder and staying employed. She found her way to Hale ‘Oluea Clubhouse, where she participated as a member and received the support and encouragement that led her through recovery. Heather is now the Director of The Kona Paradise Club, giving back to the organization that supported her, and inspiring members of the clubhouse to believe that they can achieve their dreams.