At the annual meeting of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) in Portland, Ore., on October 10, 2012, Will Hall, an internationally known mental diversity counselor and consultant and syndicated radio host, received the 2012 Judi Chamberlin Joy in Advocacy Award. Hall had been nominated by Oryx Cohen, director of the National Empowerment Center (NEC).
2011 award recipient Susan Rogers, director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, read Cohen’s inspiring words as she presented the award:
As someone who knew Judi and now has the pleasure to work with Will, I can’t think of anybody more deserving of this award.
Like Will, Judi began her career more at the fringes of our movement; you would be more likely to find her at a protest than in a meeting room. As she found her voice and more people started to listen, she ended up founding and working for places like the National Empowerment Center, where wide audiences began to hear her message. Will began his mental health advocacy career by co-founding the Freedom Center, an advocacy and activist group run entirely by and for people with lived experience with mental health issues, trauma (including the trauma inflicted by the mental health system), and extreme states.
Will is now the founder and a facilitator of Portland Hearing Voices, is the host of Madness Radio (which has now registered over 100 shows and is nationally syndicated), and travels around the world speaking and training. Rights are still core for Will, as he believes our movement is a human rights movement.
Similar to Judi, Will believes that our movement needs to broaden to include other movements, including the disability movement, gay movement, poverty movement, and prison rights movement, among other movements. Will believes that we need to get ourselves out of our silo because the issues we feel so passionate about affect every human being. It won’t be until we reach more movements that true transformation will be possible.
Another strength of Will’s is that he is not afraid to tackle difficult and/or taboo subjects. His work on hearing voices, coming off psychiatric drugs, and suicidal feelings has been nothing short of revolutionary. In short, I am honored to nominate my colleague and friend Will Hall for this award.