Sylvia Turns Seventy

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I received the Mental Health America Beers award

At it's annual meeting, NMHA (rebranding to Mental Health America) awarded me the Clifford Beers Award.

I put the core of the application and a draft of my acceptance remarks online here

The program reads

"Legendary mental health advocate Sylvia Caras, PhD, is this year's winner of
NMHA's most prestigious award for her work to improve the rights of
mental health consumers through outspoken advocacy and by sharing her
own experiences. Her pioneering efforts as the founder of People Who has
spread the meaning of "nothing about us without us" across the
the movement, and have empowered mental health consumers
nationally and internationally."

Here's the NMHA press release:

I was delighted to read about you receiving the Clifford Beers Award! Congratulations; it was well earned.

Reading your acceptance speech and Bill Compton's biographical sketch for your nomination were very moving and inspiring. You truly have pioneered the way in so many ways.
I was thrilled this morning to hear
Your speech was FANTASTIC
you SO deserve that recognition of your amazing work.
I'm adding my applause and raising my glass in your honor.
We have been very fortunate to have you working on mental health and advocacy issues right here in our own community. We have known how hardworking and effective you are for a long time – now the whole world knows!
I have both goose bumps and tears in my eyes. You are amazing.
I found your speech moving and hope, or know, that it had a similar effect on those hearing it. WIth just a handful of sentences you said a great deal!
Sylvia Caras is very special. To me, she was the person who introduced me to online consumer advocacy. To the consumer movement, she is our patron saint.

I joined Sylvia's listserv, ThisIsCrazy, in the mid-90s. The experience set me on a course I follow today.

In those days, our movement needed focus, and operated in the dark. I had no idea at the time others were as unhappy as I, and felt alone. Sylvia, more than any other person, changed all that.

The ability to communicate with others through the internet was new and vital. Her efforts gave hundreds of us the worldwide opportunity to exchange ideas, information, encouragement and support.

She made it happen.

Sylvia is the second Beers award recipient in our group. The other is last year's recipient, Pat Risser.
... founder of the Madness email list ... (Mother Madness)
you have had such an impact on the way people are treated and the way people think about the issues. You certainly changed my world view
I read your acceptance speech and thought it was perfect. You were concise, gracious, communicated your message effectively and used your personal story in a powerful, yet dignified way
for those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Sylvia I'm certain you all have witnessed her hard work and advocacy over the years! She has served our county both as a leader and inspiration to both consumers and clinical staff.
It's been an honor to work with Sylvia over the years!
How wonderful! You richly deserve this honor.
Hot stuff. You ROCK!
You have a lot to be proud of.
Well deserved!
you certainly deserve the award
Very neat
Activist makes difference

Disability rights activist Sylvia Caras has received a prestigious award from the National Mental Health Association.

Sylvia, who helped create the Mental Health Client Action Network here, won the Clifford Beers award, which is the group's highest honor. Sylvia not only started the Mental Health Client Action Network, which is a client-operated, self-help center, but led the development of the organization's computer lab, which helps connect clients to job and health resources via the Internet and e-mail.

The group is now trying to purchase the building it occupies at the corner of Soquel Avenue and Cayuga Street and is $100,000 shy of its $400,000 goal. If you want to help the group, you can contact Executive Director Suzanne Koebler or Campaign Chair Linda Wilshusen at 469-0462. For information, visit
kind emails which I read through the web when I was in Africa. Sylvia
Aside from all your offices and consultantships, I am most thrilled that the historical importance of People Who as an online community has been acknowledged. Like Mood Matters it has had sticking power.
I know how prestigious an award that is
I miss your insightful email comments
You look marvelous! So dignified and professional. Wonderful introduction. So glad you had your sister and Jane there to share and witness your success.
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