Joan Pickard, Principal of Kenwood ES, Wins Mental Health Association’s Elise Salisbury Award

Joan Pickard, Principal of Kenwood ES, Wins Mental Health Association’s Elise Salisbury Award

Joan Pickard, Principal of Kenwood Elementary School, has been nominated by Bridgeway Center, Inc. for the Mental Health Association’s Elise Salisbury Award for her service to children.  The nomination includes writing a narrative and submitting it to the Mental Health Association for consideration.

The criteria for the Salisbury Award include:

  • Involvement in mental health/chemical dependency, or services to children, or recovery:
    • Length of Involvement
    • Volunteer, Professional, Children’s Services, or Peer
    • Contribution to mental health/chemical dependency, or children’s services, or recovery
  • Impact on individuals or community life
  • Improving mental health/chemical dependency services or children’s services
  • Support for existing services
  • Public education efforts

Larry C. McFarland, LMHC, Clinical Officer at Bridgeway Center, Inc. first met Joan Pickard, Principal of Kenwood Elementary School, two years ago when she invited him to discuss the mental health needs of the students in her school. The nomination that he submitted to the Mental Health Association was as follows:

"It had been observed by Mrs. Pickard that her students participating in Mental Health Treatment often missed school to attend their sessions or they missed their sessions to attend school.  The parents or guardians of these students often lacked adequate transportation to ensure the student could attend both school and treatment on the same day resulting in the decision to participate in either school or treatment.  Her vision was to provide in-school treatment for these students, thereby only missing a single class on the day of treatment.  This vision extended to the provision of others in school physical health services as well, and she arranged for dental and vision care to be provided at the school.  She has also developed a relationship with the Salvation Army to provide clothing for children in need.  She has implemented the backpack program to ensure that kids in need of nutritional support had meals for the weekends.

Several years ago, Mrs. Pickard arranged for the Children’s Home Society to provide an onsite mental health counselor.  As time went by Mrs. Pickard realized that the student’s fund source for services often restricted which students could receive mental health care in school.  It was at that time that she reached out to the Bridgeway Center to expand the number of students who could receive in school services.

Mrs. Pickard worked diligently to realize her vision of in school health services.  These services aid the children in their learning experience. Joan Pickard is a true champion for children’s health."

Congratulations Joan!

Mental Health Association

The Mental Health Association of Okaloosa/Walton (MHAOW) is the area's oldest non-profit organization addressing all aspects of mental health, mental illness, and substance abuse.  The association educates the public, advocates for excellence and equality in treatment, and supports individuals and families living with mental health disabilities.  All services are free of charge.  Visit for more information.

Bridgeway Center, Inc.

Bridgeway Center, Inc. (BCI) is one of the most experienced non-profit psychological healthcare companies in Okaloosa County serving Children, Adults, and Families for over fifty (50) years, including those who have historically faced barriers to quality care.  BCI provides Substance Use Addiction Disorder (SUAD) Services and Mental Health Services for children and youth ages birth to 19.  Visit for more information.