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Township Woman Receives Major Mental Health Award Tonight

by Ken Roberts • Fri, Jun 07, 2013

Susan Rogers of Haddon Township will receive the highest award from Mental Health America at its awards banquet tonight, June 7.

Susan Rogers - Beers Award
(left to right): Jake Bowling, director, Advocacy Division, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania Debbie Plotnick, senior director of state policy, Mental Health America Susan Rogers, director, National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, and director of special projects, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania William S. Dinwiddie, president and CEO, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania<br />

The association will present Rogers with the Clifford W. Beers Award for leadership and service at its awards banquet in National Harbor, MD. The association presents this award annually to a mental health consumer who best reflects the example set by Beers, the Mental Health America founder, in efforts to improve conditions for and attitudes toward people living with mental health conditions.

Rogers is director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, a national technical assistance center funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She is also director of special projects of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

A native of the Bronx, Rogers holds a bachelor of arts in English from Hunter College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY).

She lives with her longtime companion, Herb Keneally. He is the father of Retrospect co-owner and business manager Susan Keneally Ainsworth.

"I have no children, so it means an enormous amount to me that Herb's family - including his three wonderful daughters, his great sons-in-law, his amazing grandsons and his very gracious ex-wife - have so warmly welcomed me into their family," she added.

Rogers has been with Mental Health America's Southeastern Pennsylvania affiliate, in Philadelphia, since 1985.

"Throughout her 28 years as an activist in the self-help and advocacy movement of individuals with mental health conditions, Susan has exemplified the spirit of Clifford W. Beers," said Dr. Wayne Lindstrom, president and CEO of Mental Health America.

"Since the mid-1980s, Susan has been a driving force within, and behind, the consumer/survivor and recovery movements," he added. "She has continually shone a bright light on the fight for civil rights in the mental health arena even though, by choice, she herself often steps out of the spotlight and stands in the shadow of others.

"Susan has helped countless individuals and organizations acquire the knowledge and skills to make changes in the systems that serve individuals with mental health conditions," Dr. Lindstrom concluded.

Rogers has spoken out against discrimination and prejudice with the compassion gained from having personally experienced crippling depressions, hospitalizations, and voluntary and forced medication. She has also fought on behalf of individuals with the lived experience of a mental health condition, and against dehumanizing and harmful practices.

Her writing achievements include co-authorship of an amici curiae brief accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Olmstead disability rights case. She has taught many people how to be effective self-advocates and systems advocates, including teaching them how to use the media in this struggle.

Copyright 2013 The Retrospect

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