Some days I still feel like the aimless 14-year-old kid trying to navigate junior high school or the wide-eyed Dowling College graduate with a new job at an AIDS organization, appalled as I watched young gay men die alone without the support of family or their government.
Other days, I wish I could turn my ticking clock back ten years, because there's so much more to do, especially with drug overdoses and suicides on the rise post-COVID.
An award I received a couple weeks ago from the National Council on Mental Wellbeing at their annual conference in Los Angeles got me thinking.
It was a Lifetime Achievement Award and while I half-jokingly referred to it as the "old guy's award," I was incredibly honored to have been chosen for this prestigious national honor.
“I’m so proud to present this award to Dr. Reynolds and recognize his achievements over the past 30 years,” National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said as he handed me the supersized award. “His efforts on Long Island and throughout New York have supported people and families over many decades. I’m grateful for his thoughtful leadership and deeply impressed by his accomplishments.”
I accepted the award in front of a crowd of 5,000 other dedicated behavioral health professionals and I accepted it on behalf of our entire staff at FCA and all those working to save lives.
It was a humbling experience, because as I told the crowd, "each and every one of you could be, and should be up here."
My parting words as I left the stage were this: "May we always meet people where they are at, but never just leave them there."