Montgomery College Named 2010 Bell Award Recipient from Montgomery County Health Association (MHA)

Montgomery County Mental Health Association (MHA) selected Montgomery College as the recipient of its 2010 Mental Health Bell Award, which is given to an individual or organization that embodies continued support and dedication to mental health and stigma reduction. The MHA applauded the College for assisting specialized populations such as veterans and military service members with their transition to college through the Combat2College (C2C) program.

“Over the years, the Mental Health Association has noted the college’s commitment to the education of the ‘whole’ student and the many ways in which the College has offered social and emotional supports that assure academic success,” said Sharon Friedman, executive director of the MHA.  “Your innovative partnerships… have demonstrated again and again your commitment to meeting the broad spectrum of student needs.”

The initial planning and implementation of Combat2College came out of a collaborative effort between the College’s Disability Support Services counseling faculty at the Rockville Campus and partners at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, the Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center.

“Recognition of Combat2College by the Mental Health Association is a wonderful honor for our program and for our institution,” said Rose Sachs, Montgomery College C2C program coordinator and chair of Disability Support Services. “We have been able to sustain our level of excellence through partnerships and additional strong working relationships with county agencies and organizations. Perhaps most importantly, we have been able to grow Combat2College and meet the needs of our student veterans and service members through the hard work of our C2C staff, Joanna Starling and Jason Franklin, and Tuyet Jackson, veteran affairs coordinator.” At the awards presentation, MHA also recognized the College’s Mental Health First Aid program, an MHA offering that is now being delivered through Workforce Development and Continuing Education. This program teaches citizen responders how to provide initial help to people who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.   The Mental Health Bell Award is designed in the form of the 300-pound Mental Health Bell, which symbolizes the melted down chains and shackles once used to bind mental health patients at asylums. Today, the bell rings out hope for improving mental health and achieving victory over mental illness.

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