PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Mental Health Association of Rhode Island hosted a special event to celebrate its 100th Anniversary, on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 from 5:30 pm to 8 p.m.

Who:        Mental Health Association of Rhode Island

What:       Bell Award Event and Centennial Celebration: Celebrating 100 Years of Service and Advocacy

When:      Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 5:30pm to 8 p.m.

Where:     Metacomet Country Club, 500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Riverside, RI 02914

The well-attended event included a light dinner, and entertainment by Mary King, Celtic harpist and MHARI board member, Jessica Litwin, singer and guitarist, who presented a song dedicated to the memory of her friend who died by suicide. There was a photo/poster exhibit, “Charities and Corrections,” and a timeline of the MHARI and mental health in RI.

The following awards were presented:

The Bell Award winner for 2016 is Gregory Fritz, MD – Chief of Child Psychiatry at Lifespan and President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Gregory Fritz, MD, Chief of Child Psychiatry at Lifespan and President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry received The Bell Award for 2016, which recognizes a mental health champion in the community whose work has been important to promote mental health and to improve the lives of people who live with mental illness.  The Bell Award event has been a tradition at the Mental Health Association of RI for many years as a means to honor and celebrate mental health champions in RI who have made a significant difference to the health of the community, the treatment of people with mental illness, and the awareness and knowledge about mental health and wellness.

Previous recent winners have included Patrick Kennedy and Robert Andrade.

Special Recognition Awards

Barbara Morse Silva, NBC-10, Health Reporter – MHARI Anti-Stigma Award


Barbara Morse Silva is a fixture on the Rhode Island news scene. She has served as a long-time Health Reporter for NBC-10, WJAR-TV. Barbara has been a tremendous supporter of the MHARI. For many years she has been the master of ceremony of our May Is Mental Health Month Kickoff event, and has been a big factor in the success of these events.  At the event also spoke openly, as she often does, of being a family member in a very courageous, compassionate and candid manner. It is her openness that is so important in combating stigma by serving as a role model and by educating others. It is that candor that has earned her the MHARI Anti-Stigma Award, 2016.


Butler Hospital – Isaac Ray Community Partner Award


Butler Hospital was presented with the Isaac Ray Community Partner Award. This award is named for Butler’s first superintendent, Dr. Isaac Ray, who was also a founder of the American Psychiatric Association. Rhode Island is fortunate to have among its treatment options Butler Hospital, a premiere psychiatric facility. Lawrence Price, M.D., President and COO of Butler Hospital accepted the award.

This award is quite fitting and well-deserved for Butler’s significant and ongoing community involvement, offering educational events such as last spring’s symposium, Making Parity Work. The Isaac Ray Community Partner Award is also given to Butler Hospital in recognition of the kindness and generosity shown to the Mental Health Association of RI and other community members over the years.


Charles Feldman, Leader, Mental Health Advocacy in Rhode Island  – Elizabeth Earls Consumer Advocacy Award


Charles (Charlie) Feldman is well-known among consumer and mental health advocacy groups. He is often the first person with whom consumers have contact when walking through the door of Oasis Wellness & Recovery Center in Providence. In addition, Charlie chairs the Mental Health Recovery Coalition of RI, comprised of consumers, advocates and family members. MHRC-RI is actively involved in statewide advocacy efforts in response to issues affecting people who live with mental illness.

The Elizabeth Earls Advocacy Award honors the memory and work of Elizabeth Earls, who passed away in August, 2014. Liz was an exemplary champion for individuals who lived with behavioral health challenges. As the CEO of the RI Community Mental Health Organizations, she worked tirelessly to maintain a system of community-based mental health care for all Rhode Islanders. This is the first time this award is being presented by MHARI.


Representative Elaine Naughton, Long-time Advocate for Individuals Living with Disabilities – Clarice Gothberg Award for Advocacy


Rep. Naughton is a well-known, long-time advocate for individuals who live with disabilities, including mental illness. She has spent her legislative career zealously advocating not just for those who live with a disability, but also for the elderly, caregivers, and children, among others. She has distinguished herself as a tireless advocate and a voice for the most vulnerable residents of our state. We are very hopeful that she will continue her work to fight for those who are not always able to fight for themselves.

The Clarice Gothberg Award for Advocacy honors a past, long-term member of the MHARI Board of Directors. For people who live with mentally illness, Clarice has consistently advocated for inclusion in the community through the development and funding of community based care. She has also worked to achieve housing for people who live with mental illness that is funded at realistic and appropriate levels. Her advocacy efforts have included providing education to reduce stigma, and offering support groups for families.