On June 9, the Missouri Mental Health Foundation hosted the Missouri Mental Health Champions awards and banquet in Jefferson City.
The keynote speaker was Christopher Kennedy Lawford, actor, motivator, and author of four bestselling books – Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (2005), Moments of Clarity (2009), Healing Hepatitis C (2009), and Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction (2013).
Recipients of this year’s award included Kate Certain, Cory McMahon, and Christine McDonald.
Ms. Certain has been described as “a light in the tunnel of mental illness.” She speaks to numerous consumers, practitioners, law enforcement professionals, and the general public through a speaker’s bureau for NAMI in Kansas City. Additionally, she was recently featured in the Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) film titled Lost Minds: Kansas City’s Mental Health Crisis, a documentary which focuses on the growing number of confrontations between people with mental illness and the police of Kansas City’s streets.
Through his advocacy efforts, Mr. McMahon is shaping the future of public policy for persons with disabilities. Mr. McMahon is an active and effective participant in public policy discussions that impact persons served by the Missouri Department of Mental Health. He has testified before legislative committees at the State Capitol, collaborating with legislators and their staff to maximize resources for persons with disabilities.
Ms. McDonald continues to inspire others on their recovery journey by advocating and sharing her story of resolve and courage. She is an internationally recognized author and speaker on the social injustices facing underserved populations today. As a survivor of human trafficking, homelessness, and addiction, Ms. McDonald – now blind as a result of a disease that forced her to choose between her unborn child and her eyesight – is on a mission to bring justice and awareness to the forefront of social change through education and unconditional love.