Honorees Dr. Zev Nathan, left, and Lillian Lovelace with Crescend Health board member Alex Smariga at Crescend Health’s “Hope & Laughter” event and inaugural Jonathan Awards in the Riviera Ballroom of the El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

iSociety: Rochelle Rose

Crescend Health, transitioning recently from Phoenix of Santa Barbara, honored three local mental health advocates at a “Hope & Laughter” event with the inaugural Jonathan Awards, celebrating the legacy of Jonathan Winters.

The gala was held at the Riviera Ballroom at the El Encanto Hotel on Santa Barbara’s Riviera.

A Montecito resident and gifted comedian and artist, Winters turned his significant psychiatric challenges into a triumphant life and a successful career that spanned six decades.

The Hope & Laughter auction included pieces of artwork by Winters, donated by his daughter, Lucinda Winters Nash, who spoke at the event.

Her father, whom many knew and loved as a famous humorist, was also an accomplished artist. He passed away on April 11, 2013.

“My father was diagnosed as bipolar in the 1960s and spent time in a psychiatric hospital,” Nash said. “Early on he attended art school in Dayton, Ohio. He always tried to be original. He said, ‘It’s a great time to be a mad man and get paid for it.’”

Crescend Health Executive Director J.T. Turner, left, Tokai Nordegaard and board vice president Murray Ray.

Crescend Health Executive Director J.T. Turner, left, Tokai Nordegaard and board vice president Murray Ray. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

In celebrating the spirit of Winters, recipients of the Jonathan Awards recognized that evening were philanthropist Lillian Lovelace, Families Act! Executive Director Suzanne Riordan and community psychiatrist Dr. Zev Nathan.

The pleasant evening began with a casual social hour on the brick-lined patio outside the Riviera Ballroom. Wines were offered by Brander Vineyards and other vintners during the social hour, which was followed by a delicious dinner of salmon and broccolini.

Generous sponsors included Rob Pearson/Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, the Wright family, Debra Simon MFT, HUB International Insurance, Acumen Scientific, Ted and Jean Polos, the Ernest Lieblich Foundation, American Riviera Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Western Bank, Ava Polan, Maribel Jarchow, Janean Daniels, June Sochel, Arnold and Adam Spencer, Linda Taylor, Buck Gardner and many others.

Mark Magid and Crescend Health Executive Director J.T. Turner served as co-emcees. Turner spoke about the new name Crescend Health and the organization’s successful rebranding campaign. He also described the changing medical environment, including more integrated services, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

At one point, Magid did an excellent impersonation of Maud Frickert, a well-known character invented and played by Winters for many years.

“Our goals for this event included improving awareness about our recently rebranding from Phoenix of Santa Barbara to Crescend Health and to raise funds for mental health services our agency provides that are not covered by a government contract,” Turner later told Noozhawk. “These services include gardening therapy, a work-training program for clients, and our newest addition: poultry therapy. The financial goal for the evening was largely met which will enable us to fund our innovative programming.”

Co-chairs for the event were Crescend Health board president Julie Kessler-Solomon and board member Alex Smariga, aided by fellow board members vice president Murray Ray, secretary Maribel Jarchow, treasurer Maeda Palius CPA, Ann Canova, JD., Sally Hinton and Robert Mislang.

Crescend Health offers a full range of mental health services from residential treatment to dual diagnosis services for substance abuse and psychiatric conditions and an intensive outpatient program, Mainstream. While the name Crescend Health is new, the organization has served the community for more than 40 years providing programs at three locations in Santa Barbara.

Crescend Health focuses on assisting individuals and families cope with the more severe psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, providing residential treatment in two programs, Phoenix House and Mountain House — with 26 beds between them — and outpatient treatment for up to 50 adults with substance use disorders, and up to 30 adults and their families in its Mainstream intensive outpatient program.

Click here for more information about Crescend Health, or call 805.965.3434.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at rrose@noozhawk.com. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.