Mental Health Association to Recognize College for its Support of MHA's Mission and Programming

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –On Saturday evening, Feb. 8, SUNY Orange will receive the 2014 Corporate Bell Award, presented annually by the Mental Health Association in Orange County, Inc. The award, which recognize the recipient's efforts to support the Mental Health Association achieve its mission, will be presented at the 2014 Silver Ball to be held from 6 to 11 p.m. at Villa Venezia in Middletown.

Below is an excerpt from the Silver Ball journal explaining the Mental Health Association's rationale for presenting this award to the College:

MHA has an extensive and rich history of collaboration with SUNY Orange for well over two decades. Much of the history began with Peter Alberghini, MHA’s former Board President, who served as the Director of Planning and Development as well as a professor at SUNY Orange. This fruitful affiliation was the beginning of a long partnership between MHA and the college. For a number of years, MHA’s annual meetings took place at Morrison Hall.

One of MHA’s critical services, the Rape Crisis Program, has worked together with SUNY Orange on a number of initiatives. MHA and SUNY Orange Wellness Center have actively organized Clothesline Projects every April and September at both the Newburgh and Middletown campuses. These compelling displays are comprised of

T-shirts memorializing individuals who have been affected by physical and sexual violence. The Clothesline is intended to become a form of healing for those who have lost a loved one or who have survived violence as well as provide a visual impact regarding the extent of this problem. SUNY Orange personnel and students have been active participants and have fully supported this project on both campuses.

Other ways in which SUNY Orange welcomes the Rape Crisis Program’s services include prominently displaying Rape Crisis fliers in the health offices, inviting MHA staff to provide professional training to security guards and co-sponsoring a self-defense class for students and college personnel. MHA has also been invited to take part in the SUNY Orange Student Health Fair each year.

Additionally, MHA and SUNY Orange Wellness Center partnered to provide a workshop on Eating Disorders, titled “Someday Melissa” which was a documentary about a teenager and her family struggle with bulimia. As a result, a "Family Members and Friends Support Group for Those with Eating Disorders" was formed and continues to meet monthly at MHA.

Furthermore, SUNY Orange Occupational Therapy Department Chaired by Flo Hannes, MS, OTR, FAOTA, past MHA Board Member, has provided students with an opportunity to be a part of one of Orange County’s collaborative projects with MHA known as the Coordinated in Home Supports (CIHS) Program. SUNY Orange students provided a full day of activities for families and children/young adults with Autism developing therapeutic activities. Flo Hannes also was instrumental in organizing training for parents of children with developmental disabilities discussing the iPad and iPod apps, features and accessories to support children with developmental disabilities in their daily lives.

Moreover, SUNY Orange Nursing Department developed a positive association with MHA. Through the years, numerous nursing students have interned at MHA’s Hudson House Psychosocial Clubhouse as part of their clinical rotation. Likewise, many MHA programs have received the benefits of countless SUNY Orange students who have interned with the agency. SUNY staff and students are invariably welcoming of MHA program participants and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940