LA CROSSE, Wis—In celebration of Mental Health Month, the 2011 Shining Star Award recipient will be introduced at a reception organized by the Mental Health Coalition of La Crosse (MHC) on Thursday, May 12 which includes a brief program beginning at 5:15 p.m. in the Cargill Room, Riverside Center II South.
The 2011 recipient is Pam Bendel, the consumer affairs coordinator for Independent Living Resources. In her position, Bendel assists men and women living with mental illnesses to pursue their goals to live a satisfied hopeful life.
“I aspire to give people hope,” Bendel said, “and I will do everything possible to advocate for them because—believe me—most people will get better if they can get the services they need.”
Bendel also inspires in other ways. She herself lives with depression, something that her daughter also experienced at a very early age.
Bendel has not allowed her depression to define her life. “I work. I live with my depression and when I feel that it will help others, I will share my story with my clients. My daughter and I team together to share our stories with the community.”
At the Shining Star event, Bendel will talk about her advocacy and her experiences with depression.
Last year’s recipient was Alice Holstein who is employed with the Veterans Administration River Valley Integrated Health Clinic in La Crosse.
The Shining Star event is in its fifth year according to Patti Jo Severson, president of the MHC. “We are excited to honor Pam this year,” she said. “Our purpose in sponsoring the event is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Pam is a survivor and inspiration and she lives a wonderful productive life. By sharing her story, we bring focus to mental health issues and hopefully the great need there is to provide support and services to individuals seeking to improve their lives.”
In addition to honoring Bendel, La Crosse County Sheriff Steve Helgeson, a member of the MHC board of directors, will share his perspective on the activities of the coalition.
Over 100 friends, mental health service providers, and members of the coalition, are expected to attend the event.
Don and Roxanne Weber are serving as sponsors of the event.