TRIBUTE TO SHEL GROSS; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 186
(Senate - November 27, 2018)

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                         TRIBUTE TO SHEL GROSS

  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, today I wish to honor Shel Gross, 
director of Public Policy for Mental Health America of Wisconsin, MHA, 
on his retirement. Throughout his career, Shel has helped everyday 
Wisconsinites in their battle with mental health issues and has been a 
powerful advocate, peer, mentor, and leader in elevating the voices of 
those struggling with mental illness.
  Shel has been the director of Public for MHA of Wisconsin since April 
2000. During his tenure, he has significantly expanded the array of 
community-based mental health services that support recovery and 
independence. Wisconsin owes Shel a debt of gratitude for raising 
awareness of both the tragedy and treatability of many serious mental 
health afflictions.
  Shel's greatest accomplishment is his tremendous work in reducing the 
prevalence of suicide in Wisconsin. As project manager for MHA's 
statewide prevention/early intervention initiative in mental health, he 
focused on improving the quality of behavioral healthcare to help lower 
Wisconsin's suicide rate. According to the Wisconsin Department of 
Health Services, over 700 Wisconsin residents die each year by suicide. 
Another 5,500 Wisconsin residents are hospitalized due to intentional, 
self-inflicted injury. As project manager of a suicide prevention 
grant, Shel made it his life's work to reduce the number of people 
affected by suicide or suicide attempts, work that deserves the utmost 
praise and appreciation.
  The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force, MHTF, awarded Shel the Karen 
Avery Award in 2017, which honors those who have shown tremendous 
advocacy and leadership in advancing the rights of people with 
disabilities. Working hand-in-hand with the award's namesake, Shel 
helped establish the Grassroots Empowerment Project, GEP, to create 
opportunities for people seeking mental health recovery and wellness to 
exercise power in their lives. Shel has been a prominent voice for 
recognizing and tapping the power of community to help heal the 
isolation of depression.
  Shel will be deeply missed by his colleagues and all those who 
consider him a loyal friend and passionate advocate. I know Shel will 
continue to be a valuable voice on these important issues after 
retirement, but I congratulate him on this milestone and wish him the 
very best in this new chapter.