AspenPointe has chosen a father and activist to act as keynote speaker during its annual Heroes of Mental Health luncheon Oct. 13 at The Broadmoor Hotel.

Mark Norwine is the subject of the critically acclaimed “Walking Man” documentary, which details his 200-mile journey across Missouri with his son, Eric, to raise awareness about mental health issues following three student suicides in seven months at a Missouri high school in 2012.  Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 52, Norwine’s life work has become reducing the stigma of mental health and increasing the awareness of bullying, especially in schools.

“Youth suicides have tragically impacted our community in many ways in recent years,” said AspenPointe President and CEO Dr. Mick Pattinson in a press release. “Our hope is that Mark’s presentation and related community events will help us continue to raise awareness around this serious issue and find solutions to this growing problem.”

AspenPointe’s annual Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon recognizes people in the Pikes Peak Region who champion mental health and wellness. They act as a driving force in efforts to reduce stigma or as a key player to grow community programs that treat and fund mental illness, substance use, unemployment and homelessness.

Each year attendees help AspenPointe raise funds for an important health care initiative. Last year, $14,000 was raised to help benefit Mental Health First Aid, an award-winning public education program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance-use disorders. Thanks to donations, the Mental Health First Aid education program is free to the public.

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In addition to the luncheon, Norwine will host a symbolic walk for suicide awareness in downtown Colorado Springs the night of Oct. 13, followed by a free screening of “Walking Man” and subsequent Q & A time with Norwine.

The nomination window for this year’s Hero of Mental Health opens in early July. Tickets for the luncheon go on sale in August. Visit AspenPointe.org/Heroes for more details.