Mental Health America of Greater Houston to Honor Harris County Judge Ed and Gwen Emmett with Ima Hogg Award

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Harris County Judge Ed and Gwen Emmett Are Committed to the Cause of Mental Health

Gwen and Ed Emmett are true champions for mental health.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston is pleased to announce that it has selected Harris County Judge Ed and Gwen Emmett to receive the Ima Hogg Award for 2013.

This award, which will be presented at the 2013 Treasures of Texas Gala on November 6, honors the memory and legacy of the organization’s founder, Miss Ima Hogg, and recognizes those who have impacted the lives of countless men, women, children and communities and helped advance the cause of mental health. The ideals, work and values of these honorees represent the values and principles that Miss Ima held dear.

“Gwen and Ed Emmett are true champions for mental health,” said Susan Fordice, president and CEO of Mental Health America of Greater Houston. “Their work, strong voice and community involvement to increase awareness and understanding of mental health conditions and to encourage change in many systems such as criminal justice and education has helped to redefine the way communities, its residents and its leaders address mental health in Harris County.”

Ed Emmett became Harris County Judge on March 6, 2007. Since then, Judge Emmett and Gwen have been a team dedicated to raising awareness of mental health needs in Harris County and the State of Texas.

Judge Emmett has stressed the necessity of separating mental health from criminal justice. In almost every speech he gives, Judge Emmett speaks of how “it is fundamentally wrong” for the Harris County jail to be the largest mental health facility in Texas. As chairman of the Harris County Juvenile Board, Judge Emmett worked with the Annie Casey Foundation to implement the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

Gwen Emmett has become a driving force for more and better utilized neighborhood clinics. And, she emphasizes the need to include mental and behavioral health diagnoses and treatment in as many clinics as possible. While Gwen is a board member with Mental Health America of Greater Houston, she is a passionate supporter of every mental health organization in the county.

She has been part of the development of the Teen Mental Health Initiative at Lamar High School and sits on the board of Communities in Schools which provides crisis counselors to programs like the one at Lamar. She is known as someone who can coordinate various groups and identify resources to accomplish organizations’ goals.

During every legislative session, both Ed and Gwen travel to Austin to testify and lobby for better funding for mental health programs. They also support innovative programs such as creation of a pilot project to divert individuals with mental health issues from the county jail.

Simply put, Ed and Gwen Emmett are committed to the cause of mental health.

Through the years, the Ima Hogg Award has significantly recognized the dedication of some of the area’s most distinguished philanthropists, civic and business leaders including Marianne and Robert Ivany (2011); Susan Garrett Baker (2009); Tom and Carolyn Hamilton (2008); Robert Eckels (2007); Gary Levering (2006); Linda & Jim McIngvale (2005); John P. McGovern, M.D. (2004); Jack Sweeney (2003); Maureen and James T. Hackett (2002); Joan and Stanford Alexander (2001); Philip Burguières (2000); and Belle Griggs Johnson(1999) to name a few.

This year, the 2013 Treasures of Texas Gala will also honor FMC Technologies, Inc. with the Spirit of Hope Award and will feature a keynote presentation, “Performing Your Life,” with Emmy Award nominated actor, Jeffrey Tambor.

To learn more about the 2013 Treasures of Texas Gala, visit http://www.mhahouston.org/events/162 or contact Director of Development, Randy Barnes at events@mhahouston.org.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston, established in 1954 by Miss Ima Hogg, is one of the area’s oldest education and advocacy organizations working to enhance the mental health of all Houstonians and to improve the lives of those with mental illnesses.

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Traci Patterson
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