Mental Health Association of Monmouth County Annual Dinner 2014

The Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) held its annual dinner at the Channel Club in Monmouth Beach on Tuesday, May 13. The event was well-attended and hosted in May to celebrate Mental Health Month. The event honored individuals who have made a significant and lasting impact in the lives of Monmouth County residents. MHA celebrated 64 years of providing a prevention-focused support network for all in need of mental health services. This year, MHA honored the outstanding efforts of the following members of the community:

The Humanitarian Award was given to Tim McLoone, owner of McLoone’s Restaurants and founder of Holiday Express. Tim’s longstanding commitment and dedication to giving back exemplifies the true spirit of this award. Founded in 1993, Holiday Express is an all-volunteer charitable group of over 100 professional musicians and hundreds of other volunteers who create free holiday events for organizations who are in need of good cheer during the holiday season and would otherwise receive little or no attention at holiday time. In addition, MHA recognized Mr. McLoone for his ongoing support of those in need of mental health services and his personal efforts to promote MHA’s free counseling services for those impacted by Superstorm Sandy and families of our returning military service members in 2013 on the Tim McLoone Radio Show.

The Tony Dowling Child Advocacy Award was given to Susan Tellone-McCoy. She has served as the vice president of MHA’s operating board for the last four years and has been an operating board member since 2003. She was a crisis coordinator and anti-bullying specialist in Manasquan High School when, tragically, a suicide contagion gripped the community. She had trained her staff and the staff of seven districts on the phenomenon of suicide contagion and prepared the crisis teams to respond effectively. Throughout her professional career, Ms. Tellone-McCoy has been recognized for her specialized knowledge about how to help young people develop resiliency when confronted with challenging life situations. Her charismatic personality and empathy have enabled her to engage the most troubled youth, helping them to recognize their unique strengths and find inner resources to cope more effectively. In the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy, she and her crisis team responded to the immediate needs of the school by providing tireless support and counseling to her students and the community as they coped with the aftermath of devastation for many of their friends and neighbors. She is presently a teacher at the Monmouth County Vocational School District.

The Volunteer Award recognized 36 mental health therapists who volunteered their counseling time in the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy. Their willingness to serve those in need and generosity in providing free mental health counseling for individuals and families after the storm was directly related to the recovery of our community. When called upon to help, they were ready and willing to assist Sandy-impacted residents of Monmouth County.

The Philanthropy Award was given to Hudson City Savings Bank Charitable Foundation and received by Theresa O’Connell, first vice president, Retail Banking. Hudson City Savings Bank Charitable Foundation’s generosity in 2012 and 2013 was vital to the development of new, free programs and services at the Red Bank Resource Network (RBRN), a program of MHA. The bank is dedicated to the areas they serve and in addition to offering a wide array of products and services, has established the Hudson City Savings Bank Charitable Foundation. The foundation provides financial support, in partnership with local organizations, to help those in need and improve our communities. Hudson City Savings Bank has 135 branches and serves customers throughout New Jersey and the surrounding metropolitan areas, including Fairfield, Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, as well as in Long Island and the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

The Monarch Award was presented to Valentina Sanchez, who was recently crowned Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2014. Each year, this award is given to a young person who has persevered and overcome obstacles in his or her life. Ms. Sanchez was nominated for this award because of her strength and resilience while enduring great tragedy. In addition, MHA chose to recognize her with this award because she has decided to use her title of Miss New Jersey Teen USA to bring awareness and shed light on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. She stated, “I want to show those people who are struggling with depression that they are not alone. I want to show them that there are many ways to stop their pain, and suicide is not one of them.”

MHA welcomed new members of the Operating Board of Trustees. Those being installed were Janice DePatria of Freehold, John Gibney of Fair Haven, Mike McLaughlin of Neptune City, and Shirley Todd of Matawan.

About the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA)

For over 64 years, MHA has been providing advocacy and services to families in Monmouth County. MHA is dedicated to promoting mental health and wellness and improving the care and treatment of persons affected by mental illness. MHA strives to accomplish this mission through the creation and implementation of innovative programs, education, advocacy, and community partnerships.

For more information or to get involved, please call 732-542-6422 or email mha@mentalhealthmonmouth.org.