Annual Welcome Back Awards Program Honors Individuals for Tremendous Contributions to the Depression Community

-- Six Honorees will be recognized for their Achievements at 12th Annual Ceremony in New Orleans --

INDIANAPOLIS, May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Despite years of debilitating depression, multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and episodes of homelessness, Joseph Rogers refused to let mental illness and an unlucky adolescence blot out his potential imprint on the world. Despite once being branded unemployable, Joseph relishes his role as advocate, embracing the challenges of being a change agent in mental health legislation, and pioneering the peer-run services movement.  Joseph Rogers' efforts have fundamentally changed the mental healthcare system—a system that had written him off many years ago – to better serve and assist those suffering from serious mental health challenges.  

Joseph is one of this year's six Welcome Back Award honorees who have conquered diverse challenges to improve the lives of others.  "This year's honorees radiate hope to those with mental illness – the message that there are people who do understand their struggles and will do everything in their power to help," said Dr. Saundra Jain, Psy.D., MBA, LPC, a member of the awards selection committee and executive director of the Mental Health Educational Initiative in Lake Jackson, TX.  

"Each individual uses their unique talents to positively effect change in the mental health community," said Dr. Jain.  "Through filmmaking, natural disaster relief and championing gender-specific research, the Welcome Back Award honorees truly deserve recognition for their influential work."

Eli Lilly and Company will be honoring these inspiring winners at the 12th Annual Welcome Back Awards ceremony in New Orleans, LA, on Saturday, May 22.  Lilly established the Welcome Back Awards in 1998 to fight the stigma associated with depression and to promote the understanding that depression is treatable.  Each year, an independent panel of national mental health leaders recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievements, and Lilly awards donations ranging between $10,000 and $15,000 to the not-for-profit organization of each winner's choice.  

The 2010 Welcome Back Awards honorees are:

Lifetime Achievement – Joseph A. Rogers, Philadelphia, PA

Joseph Rogers is Chief Advocacy Officer (CAO) of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP) and executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse.  Joseph founded Project SHARE (Self-Help and Advocacy Resource Exchange) with support from MHASP and helped design Community Behavioral Health (CBH), a city-run agency in Philadelphia that administers $350 million annually to provide mental health and substance abuse services for 400,000 people receiving Medicaid.  Through Project SHARE, he developed the Clearinghouse as a national peer-run assistance center that helps people across the country learn how to start and maintain self-help groups and improve mental health.  His advocacy efforts also led to the Philadelphia Police Department's adoption of the award-winning Crisis Intervention Team model, which has been proven to prevent injuries and save the lives of police officers and civilians citywide.  Most notably, Joseph has built MHASP from a 12-person regional agency into a multi-faceted organization with more than 300 staff members -- now one of the largest mental health associations in the United States.  

Destigmatization – Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, New York, NY

Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's passion for social issues and filmmaking led them to direct and produce the films "More Than Sad: Teen Depression" and "More Than Sad: Preventing Teen Suicide," in association with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Almost 5,000 copies of the films have been distributed to high schools across the U.S., helping students, educators and counselors become more adept at recognizing the signs of depression and identifying possible treatment options for teens who might be at risk for suicide. With the difficult challenge of creating an accurate representation of the feelings teens experience while minimizing the risk of imitation, the films successfully promote the idea that depression is an illness and help erase the stigma that's so often associated with the illness. Annie and Ricki bring realistic stories of depression and despair to life, fostering open communication in school systems about ways to find help when teenagers are feeling embarrassed, confused and alone.    

Primary Care – Trinidad de Jesus Arguello, Ph.D., LISW, RN, Arroyo, NM

Trinidad de Jesus Arguello, a clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse and author, has dedicated the past 33 years of her life to the field of mental health with a particular focus on domestic abuse and depression in women.  She is currently the program director for Tri-County Community Services, Inc., where she has effectively brought together a strong team of professionals that delivers crucial in-home mental health services to residents of Taos, NM, in need of crisis intervention. Dr. Arguello has directed several cultural advisory groups and community and behavior health programs including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliate in Taos, which she started herself. She also provided much-needed front-line mental health treatment to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The breadth of Dr. Arguello's work exemplifies her dedication to finding individualized treatment models and helping communities that face challenges such as poverty, cultural alienation, displacement, domestic abuse, unemployment and depression.  

Psychiatry – Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., Richmond, VA

Susan Kornstein is a professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and co-founder and executive director of the VCU Institute for Women's Health, a designated National Center of Excellence in Women's Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Kornstein serves as an internationally recognized researcher in the areas of depression, anxiety disorders, premenstrual syndrome and sexual dysfunction.  She edited the first comprehensive textbook ever on women's mental health and has worked to bring mental health professionals together from around the world in an extraordinary effort to advance the field of women's mental health.  Dr. Kornstein has gone above and beyond typical mental health treatment by focusing on understanding and connecting the physical and psychiatric needs of women, and providing them with much-needed support during life's difficult transitions.  

Community Service – Danielle N. Butin, MPH, OTR, Yonkers, NY

Danielle Butin is founder and executive director of the Afya Foundation of America, a large-scale medical supply recovery organization that works with major hospital systems to gather unused or overstocked supplies and sends them to well-established health organizations in Africa and the Caribbean.  Through Afya, Danielle has created volunteer and pre-vocational training programs for individuals suffering from mental illness, which help give them meaning and purpose amidst their struggle and integrate them back into the community.   In partnership with New York University and Columbia University, Danielle has also established Afya as a fieldwork training site for behavioral health and occupational therapy graduate students, allowing them to design individualized treatment models for the organization's volunteers.  Danielle recently returned from Haiti where she sent a rehabilitation team of occupational and physical therapists along with several containers of vital medical supplies.

"For the twelfth consecutive year, the Welcome Back Awards continue to serve as an inspiration to both people suffering from mental illness and mental healthcare providers," said Dr. John Hayes, M.D., senior director of Global Neuroscience Medical Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company.  "The program brings to light new and creative approaches to improving mental health along with stories of hope and survival from truly courageous, altruistic individuals. The honorees' abilities to make a difference are something we should all strive for."

Nominations for the 2011 Welcome Back Awards

Nominations for the 2011 Welcome Back Awards may be submitted by anyone wishing to be recognized for his or her outstanding achievements in the depression community or wishing to recognize someone else.  For more information, visit

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