The Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County is pleased to announce it has awarded Ann Eldridge the John Van Aken Advocacy Award.

The award recognizes those who have had an extraordinary impact on improving the lives of people living with mental illness and their families. Eldridge, who is a Mental Health Association board member, is the third recipient of this award. She was presented with the award at the Mental Health Association’s November Board of Directors meeting.

“Ann Eldridge is a fountain of knowledge about everything to do with mental illness and of services for people living with these disabilities and their families,” said Annmarie Cameron, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association. “Ann has a broad network – locally statewide and nationwide – that she relies to always have the most current and accurate information about all things related to mental health – from services to research to legislation. She uses this knowledge daily to advocate for consumers and families impacted by mental illness.”

Eldridge has served on the Mental Health Association’s Board of Directors since 1985. She is also the founding president of the Southern Santa Barbara County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a member of the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Commission, and the Director of the Planned Lifetime Assistance Network/Proxy Parent Foundation. In addition, Eldridge is a founding member of the County of Santa Barbara Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Consumer and Family Member Advisory Panel, and she served on the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Blue Ribbon Commission on Jail Overcrowding from 2009-10.


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