Mental Health America of the North Shore (MHANS) will honor outstanding local service providers especially skilled at engaging youth and parents in the work of addressing mental health needs at its 2011 Benefit, “One Community ~ One Cause ~ One Night,” at the Hilton Orrington Hotel, 9th Floor Terrace, 1710 Orrington, Evanston, on Friday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m., announced MHANS President Dan Paustian. 

 MHANS will present awards for service to youth and parents in the Community Honoree category and in the Youth Honoree category.   MHANS will also make one award in the Special Recognition category.   Carl Hampton, MSW, LCSW, of the Family Institute at Northwestern University, will receive a MHANS Community Honoree Award for “his outstanding dedication to advancing mental health outreach programs for young people and their families in our North Shore communities,” Mr. Paustian said. 

  Mr. Hampton is Director of The Family Institute Community Outreach Programs and Coordinator of Programs at Evanston Township High School and Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus.  He provides therapy and counseling for adolescents, individuals, couples and families.  “Without people like Carl in our community, our youth and families would have nowhere to turn when in crisis.   

“Carl’s special expertise aligns with the core values and mission of MHANS to provide education to youth, individuals and families on mental health and social and emotional learning skills.  He is actively doing the work we are advocating for to help children and families.”  Additionally, Mr. Hampton was part of MHANS’ initial community children’s mental health dialogue series in 2010 in District 65 schools, “Let’s Talk About It.”

Evanston-Skokie Elementary School District 65 will also receive a MHANS Community Honoree Award for the outstanding cooperation and partnering that administrators and program managers have fostered with MHANS over the past several years to bring mental health education programs through the MHANS “Let’s Talk About It” series and other resources to parents and their children, Mr. Paustian said. 

“District 65 began to fill a need when our community was grieving over the suicide of a young student, and has provided parents with the knowledge of how to address depression, conflict resolution and social and emotional needs of their children.”   MHANS produced a pamphlet for young children to identify feelings of sadness and depression and how to reach out to an adult, which District 65 made available to parents through the MHANS dialogues, “Let’s Talk About It.”  Resources of this kind for elementary age students are very rare, Mr. Paustian added.

Spencer Savitz of Glencoe, age 15 and a Sophomore at New Trier High School in Winnetka, will receive the MHANS Youth Honoree Award for his “amazing initiative and leadership in organizing Team Tyler to participate in the Chicago Walk for Autism Speaks three years ago in honor of his brother, Tyler, who is in the sixth grade and has autism.  The Team has typically been comprised of Spencer’s and Tyler’s friends, who raise money for autism needs by participating in the Walk. 

Three years ago Team Tyler, under Spencer’s guidance, brought two busloads of young people to Soldier’s Field for the Walk and raised over $39,000.  Two years ago, Team Tyler raised over $69,000, and last year the Team raised over $103,000, the most money ever raised by a Team in the Chicago Walk.  Spencer had the honor of speaking at Soldier Field before 15,000 people in each of the last two years.        

MHANS is also awarding Special Recognition to Judith Treadway, Parent Liaison/Advocate for Evanston/Skokie School District 65, for her work with families.  Since 2008 Judith has brought to the district a vital community link to further its goal of engaging parents and the community in the education of their children.  “Judith has worked tirelessly to bring opportunities to parents through district resources and community workshops for support on important issues related to their students’ mental health,” Mr. Paustian said.

In 2009, Ms. Treadway was instrumental in developing an on-going collaboration with MHANS to offer parents a variety of topics on mental health issues affecting children and parenting called, “Let’s Talk About It,” developed by MHANS.  “This collaboration has been vital for MHANS to reach parents in the community and provide education on youth depression, suicide prevention, conflict management, and social and emotional learning skills.  The community owes a great debt of gratitude to Judith for making this possible,” Mr. Paustian added.

Anyone wishing to attend the MHANS Benefit to honor and celebrate with our Honorees, enjoy great music by Monastero, dancing and delicious taste treats, or to make a donation to the many youth programs MHANS sponsors, can visit the website at www.mhans.org and download a Benefit attendance response or donation form.  Please also visit the MHANS website Teen page, “Real Life, Real Answers.”