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  for making our 2015 
Annual Celebration a success

We are grateful to our honorees, speakers, event sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who attended or supported the Annual Celebration. The funds generated by the event are critical in allowing MHAS to continue providing free legal services to people with mental disabilities.

View more event photos on our 

Special Thanks to Event Sponsors

Thanks also to:


  • Munger, Tolles & Olson, event host
  • Woodenhead Vintners, wine donor
  • Pam Marx, wine donor
  • Megan Goldstein and Mark Goldstein, musicians
  • John Pelico, III, and Douglas Hall, video producers
  • Fresh Focus Photography
  • and all of our event volunteers!

2015 Advocates Award Recipient

The Honorable 

U.S. Representative for the 32nd District of California

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano has been a strong advocate for mental health her entire political career. She has fought for mental health services as Mayor and Councilwoman in the City of Norwalk, then during her six years in the California Assembly, and since 1998 as U.S. Representative for the San Gabriel Valley.

She has been a leader in Congress in the fight to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination, ensure parity of mental health insurance coverage, obtain treatment for veterans and their families, and provide access to school-based mental health services for children.  She chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and currently co-chairs the Congressional Mental Health Caucus. 

In 2001 Congresswoman Napolitano secured support to create a program at four schools in her district providing mental health services to children on school grounds. As a result of the program's success in raising mental health awareness, reducing stigma and preventing suicide, it has expanded to 26 schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Congresswoman Napolitano has led the effort to extend this project nationwide through the introduction of the Mental Health in Schools Act (H.R. 1211) which proposes to fund 200 schools to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for children. 
Blakemore2015 Advocates Award Recipient

Catherine Blakemore
Executive Director, 

Catherine Blakemore has been a champion for the rights of people with disabilities throughout her legal career. After graduating from Loyola Law School and working at Disability Rights Legal Center and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Catherine joined Disability Rights California in 1980. 

Catherine is a nationally recognized expert in special education law, and she has litigated numerous important cases. One such case in which Catherine collaborated with MHAS attorneys in 1988 was Butterfield v. Honig, which resulted in the timely assessment and provision of mental health services to thousands of special education students in Los Angeles County. For over two decades she has served as counsel in Chanda Smith v. Los Angeles Unified School District, litigation that has led to dramatically improved special education services in California's largest school district.

Disability Rights California (DRC) is the nation's largest federally established protection and advocacy agency. As DRC's Executive Director since 1993, Catherine has been a leader in state and national efforts to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. In 2000-01 she was the Board President of the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems. She co-chaired the State Bar's Campaign for Justice and continues to serve on the California Commission on Access to Justice.

Catherine and DRC have been valued partners of MHAS for many years. We have collaborated on a wide range of issues including the rights of patients in state hospitals, fair housing, government benefits, and mental health parity. 

Mental Health Advocacy Services

The mission of Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS) is to protect and advance the legal rights of children and adults with mental disabilities, in order to maximize autonomy, promote equality, and secure the resources needed to thrive in the community. MHAS was founded in 1977 as a project of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. In 1979 MHAS became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. MHAS provides free legal services to approximately 3,000 low-income adults and children annually, with an emphasis on obtaining government benefits and services, protecting rights and fighting discrimination. MHAS also serves as a resource to the community by providing training and technical assistance to attorneys, mental health professionals, consumer and family member groups, and other advocates. In addition, MHAS participates in impact litigation in an effort to improve the lives of people with mental disabilities.