2020 Award Winners

Every year, NAMI North Carolina recognizes individuals or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary work and advocacy on behalf of all those affected by mental illness.  Listed below are the individuals recognized this year at NAMI NC’s 2020 Annual Conference on October 10, 2020.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Given, when awarded, to a NAMI NC member who has had a profound statewide impact on the lives of people living with mental illness and their families.

Diane Krisanda, President of NAMI South Mountains


Steve Jordan Award: This award is named after Steve Jordan, a former Division of Mental Health Director, and long-time advocate who tragically died in 2012. Given to an individual within the mental health community who has been a particularly effective innovator and/or advocate for the development of services or supports for people living with mental illness and their families.

Annie Schmidt, Executive Director NAMI Wake County

Outstanding Affiliate Award: Given to an affiliate exhibiting outstanding performance on a variety of criteria: peer involvement, class offerings, special events and awareness, advocacy, and membership growth. Overall leadership and innovation are also important aspects of this award. Meet the NAMI High Country Team.

NAMI High Country

Mike Mayer Advocate of the Year: Given to an individual, or individuals, who has had a significant impact on the lives of people living with mental illness and their families in a local community.  NAMI NC recognized three outstanding advocates in 2020.

Fonda Bryant, NAMI Charlotte and NAMI NC Board Member

Maureen Hansen, NAMI Cabarrus County

Shirley Vann, NAMI Guilford

Youth Empowerment Award: Given to recognize a youth (25 years or younger) with a connection to mental illness who has had a significant impact in the community through activities such as bringing youth into NAMI, involvement in campus clubs, raising awareness and engagement in NAMI programs.

Mina Ouanvilay

Elaine and David Purpel Family Respite Award: Set up in loving memory of one of NAMI North Carolina’s founders, Elaine Purpel, this special award is given to a family needing rest and reflection. The award includes a five day, four night stay at the Well of Mercy along with two services of the recipients’ choice. The Well of Mercy is a ministry of hospitality and healing and is located in Hamptonville, NC.

Laura and Paul Bobotas of NAMI Wilmington

President’s Award: Given, when awarded, to recognize an individual(s) who has persevered in his/her battle against mental illness and made a positive difference in the lives of others as well as their own.

Eileen Silber – NAMI Guilford