The Rev. David Lima, Executive Minister of the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford and leader of the Greater New Bedford Suicide Prevention Coalition, was given the annual NAMI Bristol County award for service in mental health issues and work in the fight against suicide.

NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the award was given to him as the head of the Suicide Prevention Coalition.

The award celebrates the effort to bring “dignity, courage hope and recovery of people with severe and persistent mental illness,” said Brenda Venice of NAMI Bristol County.

Venice said the award was first given in 2006, a total of three times, as an effort by the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company to reward work in mental health. She said the statewide NAMI award has been discontinued, but she keeps the recognition going, each year recognizing hard work and dedication to the cause.

The award was presented Thursday evening at the “Community Conversation on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention” at the state Department of Mental Health offices in New Bedford.

The event was sponsored by the New Bedford Veterans Center, the state Department of Mental Health, NAMI of Bristol County, FHR of New Bedford (formerly the Fellowship Health Resource), the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), and the Parents Information Network for children