National mental health advocate to speak at annual luncheon

2013-05-09T23:53:00Z National mental health advocate to speak at annual luncheonBy Times Staff
May 09, 2013 11:53 pm  • 

HOBART | The sixth annual Northwest Indiana Mental Health Awareness Luncheon will take place 11:30 a.m. May 16, at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30. The theme this year is "Solo, But Not Alone."

Reservations are $35 per person and $250 for a table of eight. Call (219) 885-4264, ext. 2604 or email

Featured speaker is Jennifer Ayers-Moore, mental health advocate and sister of Nathaniel Ayers, subject of the feature film "The Soloist." Ayers-Moore founded the Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Foundation, committed to spreading the value that artistic expression makes in the advancement of mental wellness and treatment.

Her journey began more than 30 years ago, when her charming, intelligent, talented and handsome brother, Nathaniel, developed schizophrenia, forcing him to drop out of Juilliard. Ayers-Moore witnessed firsthand the toll mental illness takes on its victims and families.

The afternoon event also includes the Most Valuable Voices award presentation. The Mental Health Advocate of the Year award is presented to an activist, elected official, religious or civic leader, advocacy group or other outstanding individual or organization that has demonstrated exemplary leadership in advocating for the mental well-being of vulnerable populations.

This year’s honoree is Mary Beth Bonaventura, former Lake County Superior Court judge, juvenile division who recently became head of Indiana's Department of Child Services.

The luncheon event is hosted by the Ambassadors for Edgewater, a volunteer group of supporters dedicated to advancing the mission of Edgewater Systems, a community mental health center serving the needs of residents from throughout Lake and Porter counties.

The event is held during National Mental Health Awareness Month to help reduce the social stigma associated with mental illness, which prevents the majority of people with mental illnesses from seeking help.

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