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Mental Health Association Names Volunteers of Year

Anne Greaney, Jill Mackay and Cindy Somers are honored for their work and dedication

Anne Greaney, Jill Mackay and Cindy Somers were named Volunteers of the Year 2009 for the Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County at its annual meeting dinner.

“These three outstanding volunteers help fulfill our mission of providing support and advocacy to anyone affected by mental illness,” Executive Director Annmarie Cameron said. “Their dedicated efforts help reduce the stigma of mental illness and make a positive difference in the lives of many members of our community.”

Greaney, a Santa Barbara resident, has served on the Mental Health Association’s board of directors for two years. She is a member of MHA’s Education Committee and the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Steering Committee, and helps teach the NAMI Family-to-Family education courses.

She brought Kitty Dukakis, wife of former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, to Santa Barbara along with her message about electroconvulsive therapy and personal battle with depression. A registered nurse, Greaney has bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University.

Mackay has been involved with the Mental Health Association for more than 10 years. She teaches many of the Family-to-Family education courses and is a respected spokeswoman for those who struggle with the challenges of mental illness.

She also volunteers with the Psychiatric Health Facility and serves on the board of another organization that serves those with mental illness. Originally from England, Mackay is a registered nurse and a retired geriatric care manager from Senior Planning Services in Santa Barbara.

Somers has been on the Mental Health Association’s board of directors for five years and serves on the Education Committee. She has helped teach “Mental Health Matters,” MHA’s curriculum for sixth-grade students in the Goleta Elementary School District that helps the students achieve an understanding and compassion for those with mental illness.

An author and a local artist, Somers has published a workbook on bipolar disorder for clients and mental health professionals. She also has written a curriculum titled “How to Get the Most Out of Life,” focusing on depression and substance abuse, to help educate the elderly population and their caregivers.

— Daniella Elghanayan is a publicist.

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