Ken Norton and Pat Long to be recognized for service and commitment to mental health

The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester is pleased to announce the names of their 2018 award recipients for their contributions to the community and/or for the advancement and advocacy of mental health initiatives in the state. Recipients will be honored at the organization’s annual dinner Benefit for Mental Health on Monday October 22 in Manchester.

Kenneth Norton has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award. The Wheelock-Nardi Advocacy Award is presented to an individual or organization who exemplifies a high standard of commitment and advocacy for those with mental illness.  The award is named in honor of former NH Hospital Superintendent Major Wheelock and former State Representative Theodora Nardi. The pair co-authored the 1982 Wheelock-Nardi Report, which became the blue print for the shift from institutional to community based system of behavioral healthcare in New Hampshire.

For the past 7 years, Ken Norton has served as the Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of those impacted by mental illness. During his tenure, Ken has added many new programs, resources and support services for families of those who are affected by mental illness and/or death by suicide. Ken is also Director of NAMI’s Connect Suicide Prevention Initiative in which he has helped to develop and implement the statewide program and protocols for responding to suicide incidents. In 2012, Norton was appointed and continues to serve on a 12 member commission to review and advise the Governor on the implementation of Medicaid Managed Care in New Hampshire.  He also serves on the Steering Committee of National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in which he provides Administrators with expert guidance on the issues that affect the network.  Norton also currently serves on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention subcommittee for Military and Veterans as well as the Survivor of Suicide Loss and Sustainability Committee, in which he helps to make recommendations for implementing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.  In addition, Ken is a prominent figure at the state house, advocating in front of lawmakers for individuals and families of those who are affected by mental illness in this state.

“The NAMI NH Board of Directors is thrilled to learn that our Executive Director, Ken Norton, is being recognized with the Wheelock Nardi Advocacy Award presented by The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester” said NAMI Board President, Peter Janelle.”The NAMI NH Board has a regular opportunity to witness Ken’s persistence, determination and commitment to advocating on behalf of people who experience mental health issues and their families.  We congratulate Ken for this wonderful and well deserved recognition.”

The Mental Health Center will also honor State Representative Patrick Long as the 2018 recipient of the Community Leadership Award, which was established to recognize and honor business or community leaders who exemplify the leadership and commitment needed to build and support a caring community. Honorees are selected for their involvement in business, civic, philanthropic or cultural activities that enhance quality of life and wellness of our citizens.

Long served as a member of the NH House of Representatives for 12 years and was a Ranking member of the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. He also served on the Committee to Study Mental Health and Social Services Business Process Alignment and Information Interoperability as well as other Committees and Commissions. Long also served as a Manchester City Alderman, Ward 3 for 5 terms, and served on the board of several nonprofit organizations such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Manchester Community Resource Center.  Patrick was also a Child Mentor in the Friends Program, on the Steering Committees for both Manchester Connects as well as Welcoming Manchester and has coached local Pop Warner Football for 31 consecutive years!

Long’s volunteerism and his involvement as an elected official in politics led him to transform his difficult childhood experiences into a catalyst for the common good. Pat continues to give his time to advocate for programs that deliver dignity and respect to those whose voices need an advocate, and believes his work provides an opportunity to contribute to his community of which he proudly calls home.

Both Long and Norton are well-deserving candidates in recognition of their work, advocacy and involvement in community activities, which enhance the quality of life and wellness of our citizens. Additional information about the October 22 dinner and awards benefit for mental health awareness and outreach can be found at; Proceeds from the annual benefit will support awareness, outreach and support services for individuals and families in our communities who are challenged with mental illness.