trailBest-selling author Cheryl Strayed will serve as keynote for the seventh annual Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 2 at the Broadmoor Hotel’s Broadmoor Hall.

Strayed is the author of New York Times bestsellers “Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Torch,” and “Wild,” which details her solo journey of discovery hiking more than 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.

“Wild” was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, and a film adaptation of the book, starring Reese Witherspoon, will be released later this year.

AspenPointe’s annual Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon recognizes individuals in Colorado Springs who champion health and wellness. They are a driving force in efforts to reduce stigma while assisting in growth of community programs that treat mental illness, substance use, unemployment and homelessness.

Alan Pocock, the Special Education Department Chair and Learning and Educating About Disabilities program coordinator at Cheyenne Mountain High School, has been selected as the 2014 Hero of Mental Health. For the past 44 years, Pocock has dedicated his life to helping teenagers with the social, emotional and intellectual aspects of dealing with learning and mental health disabilities.

Each year attendees help AspenPointe raise funds for an important healthcare initiative. For the second consecutive year, the event will support Mental Health First Aid, a public education program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The program addresses a need highlighted during this spring’s Mental Health Begins With Me community forums. Thanks to donations, the program is free to the public.

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For more information about the Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon, visit www.aspenpointe.org.