National Council for Mental Wellbeing Announces 2020 Advocacy Leadership Award Winners



Sophia Majlessi
(202) 621-1631

Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2020) — The National Council for Mental Wellbeing will recognize three mental health and addiction treatment advocates for their extraordinary work during Hill Day, the organization’s annual advocacy event to promote bipartisan solutions for behavioral health providers and patients.

The 2020 Advocacy Leadership Awards, supported by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recognizes individuals and organizations that have supported public policy initiatives to improve behavioral health care treatment and services through statewide advocacy.

“National Council members understand the value of advocacy to promote the important work of providers in their states. This year’s Advocacy Leadership Award winners have worked tirelessly under difficult circumstance as community behavioral health organizations cope with a pandemic to relentlessly pursue bipartisan solutions to help those providers and the clients who depend on them for life-saving services,” National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “Because of their work, communities throughout their states are healthier and safer.”

This year’s honorees include:

  • Individual Achievement in Advocacy Award: Lauri Cole, MSW, executive director of New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Among her many achievements, Lauri led efforts to establish rates that managed care organizations (MCOs) are required to pay to providers. Setting a consistent government rate that approximated the cost of care and was required to be paid by each MCO was a remarkable change.
  • Public Service in Advocacy Award: Representative Leslie Herod, Colorado House of Representatives, House District 8 in Northeast Denver. Rep. Herod championed a ballot initiative, Caring for Denver, that will raise at least $35 million annually for mental health and substance abuse treatment and services for children and adults in Denver. The initiative passed overwhelmingly and has created the largest mental health foundation in the state.
  • Organizational Achievement in Advocacy Award: New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. in Trenton, New Jersey. The association has lobbied successfully for changes to improve medication-assisted treatment programs and reimbursement rates. During the pandemic, the organization also has secured emergency funding and changes in telehealth regulations.

The National Council will honor its 2020 Advocacy Leadership Award winners at a reception during Hill Day at Home on Tuesday, June 23.

Learn more about the 2020 Advocacy Leadership Award program.


About the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2 million Americans have been trained.

About The National Council

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,400 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.