NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Presents Advocacy Award to
Staunton Farm Foundation Executive Director
Pittsburgh - NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania announced that Joni Schwager, Executive Director of the Staunton Farm Foundation, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Dick Jevon Advocacy Award.
The award, in honor of longtime mental health advocate Dick Jevon, recognizes community members who exhibit leadership abilities and a passion for mental health, champion improvements to the mental health system, and promote acceptance and understanding as a way of life.
"Recipients of the Dick Jevon Advocacy Award are people who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness," said Christine Michaels, CEO of NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania. "Joni Schwager is at the top of that list. Because of her leadership and vision, she has really had an impact on southwestern Pennsylvania over the course of her career."
"Advocates create change," said Schwager. "I believe we won't eliminate discrimination against mental illness until we accept the fact that over 43 million people live with a mental or behavioral condition."
Ms. Schwager received the award during NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference that was held on Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.
"Mental illnesses are common, chronic conditions just like cancer or diabetes, but we do not treat them the same way," said Schwager. "We still believe old myths using labels such as flawed, weak, or lacking self-control; not as diseases. Mental health is health. You can't have one without the other."
The Staunton Farm Foundation is a seventh-generation family foundation that has been awarding grants in the field of behavioral health in ten counties in southwestern Pennsylvania since 1937. Ms. Schwager has helped the foundation distribute over 40 million dollars during her twenty-plus year career.