75th Anniversary of Mental Health Association and 2021 Legacy of Champions Luncheon Features Keynote Speaker NFL Quarterback Alex Smith

April 19, 2021 – The Mental Health Association of Central Florida (www.MHACF.org) is pleased to announce keynote speaker, Alex Smith, National Football League (NFL) quarterback and 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year to commemorate the organizations 75th Anniversary at its upcoming annual “Legacy of Champions” Luncheon, presented by AdventHealth, on Friday, May 21st at Rosen Center Hotel hosted by Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell.


In its eleventh year, the Legacy of Champions Luncheon will this year present the inaugural Candice Crawford Community Champion Award, presented by Mayor Buddy Dyer, to Mr. Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, and the prestigious Community Heroes Award will be presented by Roseann Harrington, Chief of Staff to Mayor Jerry Demings to Dr. Luis Allen, Director, AdventHealth Center for Behavioral Health.


Since 1946, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida has been the leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. This mission is supported by the Association’s commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal.


“We are grateful that we, as one of the oldest nonprofits in Central Florida, have been able to recognize these Community Champions who have supported the mission of the Mental Health Association of Central Florida. With 1 in 5 adults having a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year and 50% of Americans meeting the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life (with half of those developing conditions by the age of 14) the Association’s work of promoting mental wellness and equity of access to mental health care is essential. And now, more than ever, our work providing direct psychiatric care, through our Outlook Clinic, to the uninsured of central Florida, is critical as nearly 1 person in 5 diagnosed with COVID-19 is also diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder like anxiety or depression within three months.” stated Marni Stahlman, MHACF President/CEO.


Event attendees will be awed by Washington Football Team Quarterback, Alex Smith’s story of his heroic comeback, unwavering hope and battle to return to the game he loves so much. After a tragic injury, in 2018, nearly resulting in the loss of his leg, Smith was able to return to the same field in which the injury occurred in the 2020 season, after two long years of rehab, as the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team. Not missing a beat, Smith went on to lead Washington to win the NFC East Division. After his unbelievable comeback Smith was the run-away favorite to win the NFL 2020 Comeback Player of the Year Award.


Stahlman also noted, “That in addition, this year’s luncheon comes on the heels of the nation’s first-ever national Mental Health Action Day on May 20th. Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement of 193 leading brands, including MTV Entertainment Group, working in unison to encourage people to take their first steps towards mental health action — whether for themselves, for their loved ones or to advocate for systemic changes. Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen, particularly among young adults. And the COVID pandemic has accelerated the already dire crisis, giving way to what many mental health professionals have called the “second pandemic.”. “We invite the Central Florida community and beyond to support our mission by attending our upcoming luncheon by visiting us at www.mhacf.org/legacy-of-champions-2021 or via social media at www.facebook.com/legacyofchampionsluncheon to share our tools and resources benefitting our community, particularly the underserved population.”


To assure the safety of all of our upcoming luncheon attendees we will be observing COVID-19 social distancing and mask guidelines. In additional, our venue host, Rosen Hotels proudly partners with ECOLAB®. This partnership allows them to utilize their expertise and catalog of fast-acting, EPA-registered products to maintain heightened cleaning standards.


For more information on MHACF resources or the Legacy of Champions Luncheon sponsorships, tickets or contributions, please contact Jennifer Helriggle, VP or Philanthropy, at jhelriggle@mhacf.org or visit www.MHACF.or or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mhacf) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/mhacf).


About the Mental Health Association of Central Florida
Established in 1946, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida, Inc. (MHACF) is one of the oldest nonprofits in Central Florida and is the leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all.
• 90 cents of every dollar donated returns directly to patient care and services.
• $939,242 of in-kind volunteer services were provided in 2019-20 by more than 250 volunteers who dedicated 12,342 hours at our Outlook Clinic and programs.
• $65,500 of donated facilities from hospital and community partners in 2019-20.
• 799 uninsured patients were provided free psychiatric care at our Outlook clinics in 2019-20.

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida understands that violence, racism, hate, and discrimination undermine mental wellness and are significant contributors to individual and community trauma. Therefore, we are committed to breaking cycles of multi-generational distress for marginalized communities in all that we do by pledging to work against racism, bias, prejudice, and discrimination at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels.

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