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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Jan Owens Presented Community Advocate of the Year Award by NAMI

BEDFORD - MARCH 14, 2023 - Jan Owens was presented with the Community Advocate of the Year award by NAMI Indiana. The award was presented by Justice Christopher Goff of the State of Indiana Supreme Court and Marianne Halbert of NAMI Indiana Criminal Justice last Friday, March 10, 2023. Jan was recognized for his persistent efforts to improve the community's response to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Photo: Jan Owens presented Advocate of the Year Award

Jan Owens has been a persistent advocate for developing an engaged, sustainable Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in Lawrence County for over a decade.

Jan’s involvement started in 2011 with a stakeholder meeting called by the regional clinical director of the primary facility for addiction and psychiatric treatment who recognized Jan’s important voice as a community advocate for mental health concerns.

This group lost momentum due to high staff turnover before implementing their vision for improved mental health training for law enforcement in Lawrence County. At one point, there were only two core members holding the dream together, including Jan, but they couldn’t get the interest of the needed stakeholders.

In 2015, Jan was about ready to lose hope for the group but decided to try one more move.

The group contacted Marianne Halbert to see if she could attend one of the meetings to give some guidance. Thankfully, Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham and two other officers showed up at that meeting and took responsibility for moving the group forward.

The first training class was in October 2016, where Jan shared his lived experience with the officers.

To this day, Jan is a consistently active member of our team and the only one from the original group. Jan has set up countless meetings to inform the community of CIT, sharing his hope of improving the community's response to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

There is an active Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in Lawrence County that meets monthly, community advocates are needed at the table.

  • CIT teams are important to Indiana, as recognized by Hon Goff's presence at the NAMI Conference where the award was presented

  • Lawrence County is need of more community advocates (people with lived experience) at the table, interested families/individuals can contact local NAMI Chapter (they have a family/friends seminar coming up on April 22 - see Facebook page.

For breaking news, news and information go to or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


Paid for by the committee to elect Dan Bortner Bedford City Council At - Large

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