Licking County’s Mental Health America names Hendon new executive director

Dave Weidig

NEWARK ? Mental Health America of Licking County (MHA) has announced the hiring of a new executive director.

Penny Sitler is retiring later this year, after nine years as director, and is moving out of state with her husband. MHA’s board of trustees has approved Colleen Hendon as her replacement.

Colleen Hendon will become new executive director for Licking County's Mental Health America.

“After an exhaustive and comprehensive search, we were thrilled to hire Colleen Hendon to succeed Penny. Colleen comes to us with extensive knowledge and experience in mental health awareness and first aid,” Mareion Royster, immediate past president of the board, said in a press release. “Above all else, she has an unequivocal passion about mental health with an excellent desire to serve.”

“It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve as executive director of an organization, whose mission is on par with my own personal mission to eliminate the stigma of mental health issues in our community,” Hendon said.

Ms. Hendon has a Master of Public Health from Kent State University with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and her Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a minor in Health Promotion is from Bowling Green State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and nationally certified Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid instructor.

“I am delighted to have spent time bringing Colleen on board at MHA,” Sitler said. “Her knowledge and interpersonal skills are a great fit for a seamless transition.”

Penny Sitler

Hendon will be introduced as the executive director and Sitler will have her retirement sendoff during MHA’s annual fundraiser, Night of Hope, on Saturday, March 11 at Thirty One West. The community is invited to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets start at $35.

Since 1953, Mental Health of America of Licking County has educated the community about mental health issues, prevention strategies and available resources, empowering people to live healthy lives and achieve their full potential. An affiliate of Mental Health America, it is a provider agency of mental health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties, and a partner agency of the United Way of Licking County (UWLC). Visit for more information.

Printed in the Newark Advocate on January 27, 2023.


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