Mariel Hemingway quickly made about 700 friends at the Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network’s 60th anniversary shindig Wednesday night. The crowd instantly loved her honest and forthright manner in describing her life of suicidal relatives (the most famous being her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway and her sister, Margot), tumultuous family fights and the roller coaster of mental illness.

Ms Hemingway took guests through a tour “in her mind” of her life, including “hangin'” with the Dalai Lama, being part of the Hollywood movie scene, and discovering that “being around thrown glass and trying to fix my relatives wasn’t really normal for everyone like I thought.”

Her speech was very much on point, as discussions in this country are beginning to be more and more centered around mental illness and treating it just like any other physical ailment, without the embarrassment and attempts to keep it in the shadows. Or we can only hope so.

ADMHN CEO Joan DiMaria was seen everywhere greeting guests and thanking supporters. The Visionary Leadership Award was given to George DelGrosso (just retired as CEO of the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council) and the Visionary Partner Award was presented to Centura/Colorado Health Neighborhoods. 

Kim Christiansen, as always, did a stellar job as emcee, and Event Chairs Cindi Burge and Kay Burke took the stage to kick off the program.

Since 1955, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has provided mental health and substance abuse services in the south metro area. The 60th anniversary gala, Shine On, celebrated past accomplishments and future goals of the organization, its partners and all of the clients and families served. Proceeds from the event support suicide prevention services and mental health crisis care.

To find out how you can help, log on to www.admhn.org