National Council for Mental Wellbeing Celebrates Mental Health Champions on the Hill 



Sophia Majlessi 

202-621-1631 office 

National Council honors Reps. Markwayne Mullin, Paul Tonko and Gwen Moore, and Sens. Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 18, 2019) – The National Council for Mental Wellbeing yesterday recognized five members of the 116th Congress of the United States for their hard work and commitment to ensuring more Americans have access to critical mental health and addiction care.  

During Hill Day 2019, the National Council honored Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) as Legislators of the Year, and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowaas Behavioral Health Champions.   

“Now, more than ever, we need public servants who stand up and advocate for mental health and addictions services,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “We applaud this year’s honorees for their courage, leadership and commitment to supporting affordable, accessible treatment. We look forward to continuing to work with them to create a health care system that ensures people with mental illness and/or addictions get effective care when and where they need it.” 

Legislators of the Year 

Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) 

Rep. Markwayne Mullin has been a leader in cultivating bipartisan support for innovative solutions to our country’s most pressing health care needs. One of the most respected members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Mullin has made his commitment to the mental health and addiction treatment community clear by serving as lead sponsor of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (H.R. 1767). With Rep. Mullin’s leadership, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program has earned multiple short-term extensions from Congress in 2019. For his leadership and unwavering support for Americans living with mental illness and addiction, the National Council is proud to honor him as a 2019 Legislator of the Year. 

Representative Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) 

A dedicated advocate for quality health care, RepPaul Tonko has consistently worked to improve the lives of those living with behavioral health conditions. Rep. Tonko recently authored the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (H.R. 2482), which seeks to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals living with addiction, especially those living with addiction in rural and urban minority communities. Rep. Tonko also recently reintroduced the Medicaid Reentry Act (H.R. 1329), which would reinstate Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals up to 30 days prior to their release. For his tireless commitment to people with addiction and mental illness, and the providers who serve them, the National Council honors Rep. Tonko as a 2019 Legislator of the Year. 

Representative Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) 

A champion for public safety and the wellness of all Americans, Rep. Gwen Moore recently introduced the National De-escalation of Violence and Community Safety Training Act of 2019 (H.R. 2457). This bill creates a grant program to provide law enforcement officers the mental health training they need to respond to people with mental illness in communities across the country. As part of this important legislation, H.R. 2457 would reauthorize funding to train law enforcement officers, educators, first responders and other community leaders in Mental Health First Aid. For her leadership and passionate support for individuals living with mental illness and first responders, the National Council honors Rep. Moore with a 2019 Legislator of the Year award. 

Behavioral Health Champions 

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) 

As Ranking Member of the influential Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden has consistently prioritized accessible, affordable health care for all Americans. Most recently, Sen. Wyden has been a champion and cosponsor of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824), extending the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration program for two years and expanding the program to include 11 states that applied but were not originally chosen to participate. For his unwavering support of making quality behavioral health care accessible, the National Council honors Sen. Wyden with a 2019 Behavioral Health Champion award. 

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) 

In his current role as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley has overseen multiple extensions of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration, providing access to hundreds of thousands of Americans in need of lifesaving mental health and addiction services. Under his leadership, the Finance Committee has continually supported policies and programs that prioritize access and maintain high-quality health care services for all Americans. The National Council sincerely thanks Sen. Grassley for his leadership and courageous advocacy for Americans living with mental illness and addiction and we are proud to honor him as a 2019 Behavioral Health Champion. 


About the National Council for Mental Wellbeing 

The National Council for Behavioral Health 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.