(Houston, TX) – On May 2, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett addressed over 700 attendees at the Hope and Healing Center & Institute’s sixth annual award luncheon, A Chrysalis Occasion, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Judge Emmett led a panel moderated by Emcee Bill Balleza, KPRC2 News Anchor, which included Pete Earley and Matt Stanford, Chief Executive Officer of the Hope and Healing Center & Institute who discussed the ongoing issues that plague the mental health system and what steps need to be taken so that all who need care are treated.  They all agreed changes in policies and increasing accessibility and affordability while reducing the stigma associated with mental illness are essential in improving the overall mental health system.

This year’s keynote speaker, Pete Earley, New York Times bestselling author and 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, gave a powerful message as he spoke openly and honestly about the challenges he faced while seeking adequate treatment and care for his son after he was diagnosed with a mental illness.

This year’s Chrysalis award was given posthumously to Mr. Howard E. Butt, Jr., former president of The H.E. Butt Family Foundation, Laity Renewal Foundation, Laity Lodge Foundation, and founder of Laity Lodge, who suffered from clinical depression throughout his life.  His daughter, Deborah Rogers and her husband David M. Rogers, president of The H.E. Butt Family Foundation, accepted the award on Mr. Butt’s behalf.

The chairs of the luncheon were Gwen and Don Hanna; honorary chairs were Judge Ed and Gwen Emmett.  The luncheon was attended by Debbie Clemens, Susan Baker, Kristi and David Lumpkins, Paul and Katherine Murphy, Marnie and Lee Hogan, Sally and Jim Easterling, Elizabeth Stein, Betty Tutor and Carroll Ray.

 About the Hope and Healing Center & Institute

The Hope and Healing Center & Institute is a comprehensive mental health resource dedicated to transforming lives and restoring hope through training, education, supportive services and research. The services provided by the HHCI are free to individuals of all faiths.