200+ Community Leaders Gather to Recognize Mental Health Awareness Month

200+ Community Leaders Gather to Recognize Mental Health Awareness Month

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Edgewater Systems hosted over 200 community leaders, mental health and social service providers, and community residents at its 9th Annual Ambassadors for Edgewater, Mental Health Awareness Luncheon.

Attendees included Gary, IN Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Calumet Township Trustee, Kimberly Robinson; Lake County Prosecutor, Bernard A. Carter; and Councilwoman Linda Barnes-Cladwell and other civic and community leaders.

Dr. Lonise Bias and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

The main speaker for the afternoon was Dr. Lonise Bias an internationally known motivational speaker, trainer, certified youth and family life coach and consultant.  Dr. Bias was introduced by Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes, President and CEO of Edgewater, who began her introduction by stating, “Mental illness is no different from any other physical illness.”

Dr. Bias gripped the audience with her uplifting, motivating, and engaging presentation.  Dr. Bias reflected on the loss of her two sons, Len and Jay Bias.  Len Bias died due to cocaine intoxication two days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics on June 19, 1986 and Jay Bias was murdered in a drive by shooting at a local mall in 1990.  Dr. Bias kept the audience riveted as she described how she turned “Lemons into Lemonade” as she struggled with depression after the death of her sons.

Dr. Bias addressed the mental health providers in the audience and cautioned them, “You can’t own the situation that people are in. … Take care of yourself. Think better thoughts because thoughts control emotions.”

L-R Check Presentation: Shirley P. Thomas, Greg Fleming, and Dr. Sharron Johnson Shirley.

In addition to Dr. Bias’ presentation, the event featured a unique opportunity to interact with some of Northwest Indiana’s most impactful organization who work on a daily basis to meet the needs of our mental health community. Some of the organizations includes: Center of Workforce Innovations, Edgewater Systems, Geminus Prevention Services, Mental Health of America of Lake County, Total Spectrum Care, TradeWinds, Veterans Affairs, and others.  Providers had an opportunity to share with guests the mission of their organizations and the role they play in meeting the needs of our mental health community.

The Ambassadors for Edgewater presented Edgewater Systems with a generous donation of $5,000 to assist the organization in continuing to meet the needs of the many individuals that rely on their services.