By Eric Gross
Mike Piazza was presented with a bell trophy for his many years of service assisting mental health concerns.
Soon-to-be-retiring Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services Mike Piazza was turned to tears recently when consumers of the Putnam Mental Health Association presented him with a bell trophy for his many years of service to residents of Putnam County.
Piazza is retiring next month after decades of service.
Alice Herde, Acting Managing Director of the Mental Health Association, explained that in 1950, leaders of the national association selected the bell as the organization’s symbol – “a symbol which people already associated with freedom and liberty. Among those leaders were those familiar with the deplorable and inhumane conditions in locked mental hospitals during the 1940s, having worked in them as conscientious objectors during World War II.”
The bell has been rung on numerous occasions over the decades to mark continued progress in the mental health consumer movement.
Herde said: “We ring the bell in Putnam with pride in our past history of achievements with confidence in our present actions and with hope in the promise of a future when we shall witness victory over mental illness.”