As a young man, Dr. Max Dine was overcome by sudden, severe bouts of depression. Yet, he pushed on, intent on becoming a physician. He graduated from medical school cum laude and practiced as a successful oncologist for 17 years. In 1998, he retired to become a full-time advocate on behalf of individuals with mental illness, all the while struggling with a bipolar disorder. While his depression sometimes keeps him bedridden for weeks at a time, he continues to devote more than 80 hours a month to volunteer activities. He has put in more than 9,000 hours over the past decade. Those who know him say he is a persevering and caring advocate and role model. In 1998, Dr. Dine co-founded Behavioral Health Consumers in Action, a non-profit organization that has helped hundreds of people with mental illness by offering them information and assistance in obtaining mental health services, skills training and support. Dr. Dine is a volunteer for the Arizona Center for Disability Law. He has served as chair, president, board member and consumer representative for more than 15 organizations including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Dr. Dine was one of the first to try to change the state’s Civil Rights Act. It took him six years to get the word “mental” added to the Act.
In Dr. Dine’s own words, “My personal experience provides me with insight to help others. I will continue my mission to help pass laws in Arizona and the U.S. to provide insurance coverage for persons with mental illnesses under the same terms and conditions of coverage offered for physical illnesses.”