Press Releases: Sen. Stabenow Named Behavioral Health Champion
Six Senators, Congressmen Recognized As Legislators of the Year
Contact: Communicatons@thenationalcouncil.org, 202-684-7457
WASHINGTON DC, June 28, 2010—In recognition of outstanding leadership on behalf of people with mental health and substance-use disorders, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) will honor Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) with its Behavioral Health Champion Award during an awards ceremony tomorrow in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The National Council will also name six U.S. Congressmen and Senators
as Legislators of the Year: Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC).
A nationally-recognized leader on healthcare, Sen. Stabenow has worked tirelessly to integrate services for people with mental health and substance-use disorders into the broader healthcare system. She led efforts during debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to apply the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to the health insurance exchanges. She sponsored the ENHANCED Act, later included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to establish national centers of excellence for the treatment of depressive and bipolar disorders. She also introduced the Medicaid Services Restoration Act of 2009 to provide vital protections for providers of therapeutic foster care and rehabilitative services.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Stabenow worked to provide access to affordable and high-quality healthcare for all Americans and fought to reduce healthcare costs and promote the use of innovative technology in the healthcare system.
“These legislators have demonstrated persistent, passionate and powerful leadership on behalf of individuals with mental health and substance-use disorders,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. “They’ve also shown tremendous support for the provider organizations that treat and support some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
The six U.S. Congressmen and Senators will be named Legislators of the Year for their efforts to raise awareness of the critical need for better health coverage for mental health and addiction treatments. These actions include:
- Rep. Engel’s leadership last year to protect and expand the behavioral health safety net by helping to establish federal status for community behavioral health organizations;
- Sen. Franken’s emergence as a strong advocate of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and working to ensure implementation of the law.
- Rep. Matsui’s help with drafting several bills to help people living with mental health and addiction disorders and other vulnerable populations;
- Sen. Menendez’s introduction last year of the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act to help the millions of women and families affected by postpartum depression nationwide;
- Sen. Murkowski’s efforts last year to co-sponsor the Community Mental Health Services Improvement Act to expand and improve the behavioral health workforce.
- Rep. Myrick’s expertise as a family member of someone with serious mental illnesses to work to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and to promote access to treatment for affected individuals.
More than 500 National Council members from across the country—including persons with mental and addictions disorders, families, community members and heathcare providers—are in Washington this week to meet with their members of Congress to ask for adequate and effectively-funded services to help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders live full and productive lives.
The awards ceremony is tomorrow, June 29, 5:30 PM in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
For more information about the National Council’s Hill Day, visit here.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,700 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological, and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.