NAMI Award 2019June 6, 2019 (Jackson, Miss.) - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) honored Belhaven University Provost Dr. Brad Smith for his commitment to mental health in Mississippi. He was given the Excellence in Mental Health First Aid Community Impact Award on May 16, 2019. A total of 14 people who work as advocates, educators, doctors, and researchers in mental illness were also recognized during the annual gala, held at Belhaven University.

Marshall Ramsey, an award-winning cartoonist, Tonya Ware, executive pastor of The Church Triumphant Global, and Wendy Bailey, chief of staff for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, were just some of the Mississippians honored during the ceremony.

Executive Director of NAMI Mississippi Tameka Tobias said the organization helps those dealing with mental illness throughout the state. “We're a grassroots non-profit organization and we serve those individuals living with a mental illness as well as their family members. We stand in the gap, we serve as a voice for the individuals. We also partner in the community to get rid of stigma," said Tobias.

Dr. Smith has committed much of his life to educating others on the stigmas of mental health as well as training others on how to serve those with a mental health illness. He is a licensed psychologist and has been teaching and consulting internationally in the area of mental health and Christian counseling for the past 20 years. Dr. Smith founded Belhaven's Institute for International Care and Counsel and serves as institute director. He is the former director of strategic innovation for the Mission Advanced Research and Communication Center of World Vision International.

He currently serves as the catalyst for Global Mental Health and Trauma for the Lausanne Movement. Dr. Smith is a certified instructor in both Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid. He served as the first cross-cultural and international track leader for the Christian Association of Psychological Studies (CAPS) and is a frequent speaker on global mental health for the American Association of Christian Counseling (AACC).

Dr. Smith co-authored the 2017 book Global Mental Health and the Church and is currently working on another book, Global Mental Health: Expanding the Transforming Mission of the Church for InterVarsity Press. Dr. Smith has also co-edited the Journal of Psychology and Christianity's special issue on Psychology in the Global Context.