MHA is blessed to have a great staff, volunteers, community members, and of course, our board members, who have both a passion for and expertise in the mental health field. Today we have two of MHA’s board members, Lisa Thorton and Dr. Jim Ellison, who will be talking about their personal and professional experience and how it brought them to our organization.

Board Member: Lisa Thorton

I have always been an advocate of mental health awareness, especially when it comes to removing the stigma that is often associated with mental health challenges, as well as ensuring that each individual has access to the resources needed to maintain our mental health throughout our lives. As a mother of three sons, my advocacy took on a different meaning as they have grown up – from making the transition from life at home to living away at college, to dealing with the stresses of school and the desire to excel in athletics. Managing the day to day peer pressures and the expectations they put on themselves has also been a challenge as my children have gotten older. Seeing how their needs have evolved as they have grown into teenagers and young adults as well as the challenges they have faced in navigating through their own personal journeys, in particular during the pandemic, my advocacy has continued to grow.

I had the opportunity to become a Board Member of the Mental Health Association in Delaware earlier this year and my appreciation for the services that this organization provides on a daily basis to all individuals and families in Delaware through education, support and advocacy has continued to grow. I encourage you to check out the services that the Mental Health Association in Delaware provides (www.mhainde.org) and to make time to assess your own mental well-being. Each and every one of us that is managing a mental health challenge is deserving of care, understanding, compassion and pathways to hope, healing, recovery and fulfillment. Being aware of our mental health and the resources available to us to care for ourselves are so important – and the Mental Health Association in Delaware is here to help!

Lisa Thornton works for JP Morgan Chase and is a Managing Director in Consumer & Community Banking Risk Management.  She has worked in financial services for more than 20 years, previously at Citibank and Bank of America, in Business Strategy and Planning, Marketing and Digital Client Experience.  In her free time, Lisa enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband and three sons.

Board Member: Dr. Jim Ellison

How can a psychiatrist contribute to the workings of a peer support group such as MHA? That’s the question I asked myself when an admired colleague encouraged me, 6 years ago, to join the MHA board. When learning about the organization, I quickly appreciated its many activities, from advocacy and public education about addiction and suicide, to training of peer counselors.  These services fill an important gap in services that is not sufficiently addressed by the traditional health care system. I have been impressed at the diversity and impact of MHA’s initiatives and grateful for the opportunity to assist when input from a physician could play a helpful role. I hope to remain a supporter of this valuable agency even after my current board term comes to an end.

Dr. Ellison was born in Minnesota and raised mostly in California, but higher education opportunities lured him to Boston, where he trained to be a psychiatrist at the Mass General Hospital. Subsequently, he spent several decades working as a general and geriatric psychiatrist in several hospitals in or near Boston. Dr. Ellison’s clinical specialties include the assessment and treatment of neurocognitive disorders in older adults and the evaluation and treatment of resistant mood disorders in later life. Dr. Ellison moved to Delaware in 2015 to become the first Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics. His objective in this role is to enhance the care of older adults with neurocognitive disorders in Delaware by increasing their access to state of the art diagnostic tools, clinical assessment and treatment approaches, caregiver support resources, and research trials. Dr. Ellison is the proud father of two college-age young men who share his passion for community service. His partner, Kate, works as a fitness director at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. When not working, Dr. Ellison enjoys attending concerts, playing the violin, reading, and looking for time to keep fit.