One of the people receiving services at the Mental Health Center of Denver has lived in the organization’s residential facilities off and on more than 10 times in the past several years. And Residential Counselor Devin Tappan is the only one who has ever understood them, they recently told Residential Program Manager Lisa Aberle.
“I think that says everything you need to know about how great Devin is with the people we serve,” Lisa said. “He’s a great listener, he validates people’s feelings and he problem-solves. He meets people where they’re at, and he’s non-judgmental, as we all should be in this profession.”
Devin was selected as this year’s winner of the Mary Frances McMahon Award for Outstanding Clinical Service.
Mary Frances McMahon Award Background
The annual award was created through an endowment by the family of a person we served, Mary Frances McMahon. They were grateful for the exceptional care Mary received and created the award in her memory. The award recognizes a clinical service provider who goes above and beyond in caring for the people we serve.
“Devin approaches his work in a trauma-informed way and realizes not everything needs to be solved immediately,” Lisa said. “He’s a perfect candidate for this award, and he deserves it.”
Seeing Growth in Others
Devin has been a residential counselor at the Mental Health Center of Denver for 12 years. He works at Monroe House.
“The people we serve are so wonderful, interesting, and just great people,” he said.
Prior to becoming a residential counselor, Devin taught English in Nepal and Ghana and worked in politics. He grew up in Denver and his mom is an LCSW. So, when his friend who was a case manager at our organization told him he’d be great at working in mental health, Devin pursued it.
“I wanted to make a difference,” he said. “I thought it might be a great experience to try out for a little while, and I ended up really enjoying it.”
Furthermore, the best thing about working in a transitional home, he said, is having the opportunity to see growth in the people we serve.
“Seeing those successes and working with such an incredible team is an amazing experience,” he said.
And for Devin, that team is like a second family.
“I’m grateful to work with a team that is so communicative and supportive, especially in a time like this. It’s been great to see everyone go above and beyond,” he said. “I appreciate being recognized, and my successes are only because of so many others I work with. It’s really humbling to get an award. It’s a reminder that there are so many people at this organization working hard for our mission.”