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More than 400 people from mental health centers, legislators and board members gathered in Ogden recently to discuss issues surrounding Utah's public mental health system and to honor individuals who made a "significant contribution to Utah's mentally ill."

The First Public Mental Health Conference, held in Ogden, included two days of meetings and discussions, co-sponsored by the Utah Council of Mental Health Directors, the Utah Division of Mental Health and the Utah State Hospital.Sen. John Holmgren, R-Bear River City, received an award for his work and impact on human service programs as co-chairman of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee. Salt Lake County Commissioner Michael Stewart and Weber County Commissioner Lowell S. Peterson were honored for their "support and impact on the public mental health system and for their advocacy for much-needed funding for these programs.

Deseret News human services reporter Lois M. Collins received the media award for a series of articles on the problems facing the mentally ill who fall into the criminal justice system. Delores Ottley was cited for her willingness to share her family's struggle with mental illness. Ottley is a past president of the Utah Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a member of the Utah State Mental Health Board. Peggy Timblin, recent director of U-CAN-DU Consumer Club, was lauded as a person "whose determination to empower consumers, not only in Utah but nationwide, has impacted thousands of mentally-ill people."