April 07, 2020

7 Mainers named ‘Heroes in the Fight’

Mental health advocates have honored seven Mainers for their work on behalf of people with mental illness.

The “Heroes in the Fight” award recipients were recognized at a dinner on Oct. 23 at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport.

Heroes in the Fight is an annual program hosted by mental health advocacy groups and sponsored by the Eli Lilly and Co. drug manufacturing firm, which makes medicines that treat depression, schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other mental conditions.

The Maine chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, or NAMI-Maine, applied successfully to bring the program to Maine this year. Of agencies in 24 states, 18 were selected to host the program.

Honored at this year’s dinner in Maine were:

. Todd Benoit, editorial page editor for the Bangor Daily News, for his support of mental health issues.

. Nancy Grimes of Bangor, for her advocacy on behalf of families affected by mental illness.

. Sgt. Paul E. Edwards of the Bangor Police Department for his work in coordinating and promoting a program that trains police officers to respond appropriately to people with mental illness.

. Helen Bailey, a mental health advocate and attorney who has represented patients, clients and families in class action suits involving the Pineland Institution in New Gloucester and the Augusta Mental Health Institute.

. The staff of the Maine WarmLine, a low-key crisis response line that provides statewide support to Mainers in need of emotional and psychological support. (Call toll-free (1-866-771-WARM)

. Luc Nya, a state employee charged with developing and coordinating mental health services for immigrants and minorities in Maine.

. David Proffitt, superintendent of the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, for his commitment to transforming the culture of inpatient care.

For each honoree, Eli Lilly donated $500 to a nonprofit mental health program selected by NAMI-Maine.

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