Saddleback Church co-founder and best-selling author Kay Warren was recently honored as one of Orange County, California’s 100 most influential people, alongside professional athletes and elected officials
Warren received the honor earlier this month for her work in mental illness advocacy and awareness following the suicide of her son, Matthew, in April 2013.
“Through her leadership, Saddleback Church this year hosted a conference to provide steps for clergy and mental health professionals to build a network of support for people living with, or who are affected by, mental illness,” noted the Orange County Register, which gave Warren the designation.
“She also has worked with donors, agencies and hospital systems to rally around pediatric and adolescent mental health.”
According to the Register, its annual 100 Most Influential People of Orange County list is meant to “highlight the county’s game changers, innovators and newsmakers in education, business, health, government, faith, sports, philanthropy, civic life and the arts during 2016.”
“The focus here is less about familiar public figures and more about sharing the stories of local newsmakers and unsung heroes who had a big and specific impact this past year,” explained the publication.
“To compile our influencer list, Register editors in every department revisited the top issues and stories of the past year and also considered the nominations that poured in from readers.”
Other county residents honored by the Register in 2016 include former professional basketball player Kobe Bryant, competitive surfer Courtney Conlogue, Muslim civil rights activist Hussam Ayloush, 14-year-old recycling business leader Vanis Buckholz, social media sensation and quadruple amputee Kaitlyn Dobrow, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, and Fifth Harmony member Dinah Jane Hansen, among others.
The Register’s honoring of Warren for her work on mental illness treatment and awareness came days after the United States Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act.
In a statement released earlier this month, Kay and her husband, Pastor Rick Warren, celebrated the bill’s passage, noting that it is a step forward in combating mental illness.
“The Cures Act takes important steps for much-needed mental health reform and will ensure mental health programs are effectively serving people with mental illness; it will improve access to care for veterans, people who are homeless, women and children; and will promote evidence-based approaches to provide the best care to people in need,” the Warrens said.