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Champions for mental heath

Please join us as Riverbend Community Mental Health celebrates three extraordinary individuals as Champions for Mental Health on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grappone Conference Center. Ken Braiterman, Gretchen Grappone and Arpiar Saunders Jr. will each receive a Rainbow Award in recognition of contributions that have improved the lives of those living with mental illness in our community.

Braiterman is being recognized for his advocacy and work to strengthen the peer support system; Grappone for her work developing research based anti-stigma training programs for lay people and professionals; and Saunders for his legal activism and social justice efforts.

What each of our champions has in common is first-hand knowledge that there is more we can do to prevent and effectively treat mental illness. One in four adults and one in 10 children are directly touched by this issue, and from my volunteer work with Riverbend, I know that there are services and programs which might make a valuable difference in many lives. Sadly, there are far too many barriers – stigma, and lack of insurance and public funding among them – preventing people from getting the effective treatments and community-based services known to work.

Tickets for the Rainbow event are $35 per person or $75 per patron. Additional information is available at or by contacting the Riverbend Development Office at 226-7510, ext. 4334, or

(Karen Levchuk is a member of the Riverbend Board of Directors.)

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