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Treatment Advocacy Center Honors Three Grassroots Mental Illness Advocates

IL, CA, and PA heroes fighting for treatment

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The board of directors of the Treatment Advocacy Center today announced that Karen Gherardini (Illinois), Janice DeLoof (California), and Jeanette Castello (Pennsylvania) have won the annual Torrey Advocacy Commendation. The Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses.

"Individuals are the heart of reforming and improving our mental illness treatment system," said president Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. "The system will not change without the untiring fortitude of individuals like Karen, Janice, and Jeanette. Fighting the entrenched establishment to get treatment for people with severe mental illnesses is far from easy. They are tenacious in their dedication to helping a group of people with few champions."

TAC's board of directors voted unanimously to recognize these three outstanding advocates.

KAREN GHERARDINI (ILLINOIS). Gherardini worked for six years to make it easier for people in Illinois to get treatment. This year her efforts were realized when Gov. Blagojevich signed SB 234, to allow earlier intervention for people with illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

JANICE DELOOF (CALIFORNIA). As the mother of a son who committed suicide after not receiving effective treatment for bipolar disorder, DeLoof is dedicated to implementing assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) in Orange County and throughout California.

DeLoof is involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness at the local, state and national levels.

JEANETTE CASTELLO (PENNSYLVANIA). Castello is fighting to change Pennsylvania's outdated assisted outpatient treatment standard, which requires someone to be dangerous before being court-ordered into treatment. She formed the Pennsylvania Treatment Law Advocacy to influence legislation, and started a blog to encourage changing Pennsylvania's treatment laws.

About the award. The Torrey Advocacy Commendation is presented annually by TAC's Board of Directors. Recipients make a substantial difference for their community through advocacy, awareness, research, or legislation.

The Treatment Advocacy Center ( promotes laws, policies, and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

SOURCE Treatment Advocacy Center
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