New York Times Best Seller and Pulitzer Finalist to Headline SMH Gala

Contact: Steve McLean
Communications Director
(206) 302-2261

Will address mental health “epidemic” in the criminal justice system

SEATTLE – May 14, 2013 – Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times Best Selling author, Pete Earley will keynote at Mental Health Matters, Sound Mental Health’s annual spring gala and fundraiser. The event, taking place on May 15, will be held at the Metropolitan Ballroom at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel and Towers from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

A well-known mental health advocate, Mr. Earley will focus on the mental health pandemic that is tragically transforming US prisons and jails into the de facto mental health system. Author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, Mr. Earley brings an extremely personal perspective to his address. His son, Mike, had a psychotic episode in college that led to him being charged with two felonies. It was this experience, and the things Mr. Earley discovered later, that ignited his passionate advocacy work to change the corrections system for those living with mental illness.

“Sound Mental Health is pleased to have someone of Pete’s national reputation and stature speaking at our gala,” said Gayle Johnson, Sound Mental Health chief development officer. “Not only does his credibility and perspective bring continued light to the topic, he is also a fantastic story-teller who uses a thoughtful and personal style that captivates audiences.”

Frequently sought by national media and advocacy organizations to offer commentary about mental health issues, Mr. Earley is eager to speak at Mental Health Matters to further his message.

“Most people who have mental illness do and can get better,” he said. “We need to provide services like what you offer at SMH to support people who deserve a chance to recover from their illness and lead productive and normal lives.”

The gala, one of the most eagerly-anticipated community behavioral health events of the year, attracts local and regional elected officials, community activists, local celebrities and hundreds of supporters who rally around the organization’s mission to improve lives through innovative services. Funds raised from Mental Health Matters supports many SMH programs, including services for children, families in crisis, survivors of domestic violence and the homeless.

KOMO television’s Connie Thompson, a well-respected journalist and news anchor, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Among the evening’s highlights will be the presentation of the Gov. Booth Gardner Community Mental Health Champion Awards to King County Councilman Larry Gossett and Genoa Healthcare. Each recipient has a long track record of dedication to and perseverance in improving the mental health system and supporting the recovery of hundreds of thousands living with mental illness. David Stone, Ph.D., SMH CEO, will present the awards.

Event sponsors include Genoa Healthcare, Puget Sound Business Journal, Muckleshoot Casino, Perkins Coie, Seattle Children’s, US Bank, Bennett Bigelow & Leedom, PS, Keeney’s Office Supply, Linn, Schisel & DeMarco, PS, Parker, Smith & Feek, Regence, United Way, The Low Income Housing Institute, A&A printing, Inc. and ThinkAlike.

For more information about the gala or to request an invitation, please contact Steve McLean, Sound Mental Health communications director, at .

About Sound Mental Health

Sound Mental Health is a private, tax-exempt organization that has provided a comprehensive array of mental health and related services to the King County community since 1966. Our goal is to help individuals and families achieve the highest level of independence and (mental) health possible. Services are tailored to meet the unique needs of different age, disability and cultural/ethnic groups.