Madison County Circuit Court Judge Edward Ferguson has been named one of the Community Counseling Center's Mental Health Heroes for 2008.
The Community Counseling Center Board of Directors created the Mental Health Hero awards to recognize community members who have shown compassion and understanding to those with mental illness, heightened mental illness awareness and taken action to improve the quality of life for the mentally ill.
The 2008 recipients are Judge Edward C. Ferguson and Dr. John A. Hoelscher.
Ferguson currently serves as a Circuit Judge for the Third Judicial Circuit in Edwardsville, presiding over both the drug and mental health courts.
For much of his judicial career, he has served as the presiding judge of the criminal felony division, and in 1996, was instrumental in developing the Madison County Drug Court, according to a press release issued by Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.
Through the Mental Health Court, mentally ill individuals who have been involved in non-violenf crimes are diverted to treatment rather than jail.
The specialized courts supervised by Ferguson allow individuals to obtain the necessary extended treatment and are less likely to return to jail.
Ferguson and Hoelscher will be honored at the Community Counseling Center's annual event which begins at 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 4, at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the event, call (618) 465-4554. Proceeds will benefit the Community Counseling Center.