National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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The National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Advocacy Leadership Awards, supported by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recognize individuals and organizations that have led legislative or regulatory advocacy and public policy efforts to expand access to services and supports for persons with mental illnesses and addictions.

From June 23-24, 2,000+ people from all 50 states attended Hill Day at Home to learn from experts, advocate for behavioral health issues and congratulate our 2020 Advocacy Leadership Award winners. Watch the awards ceremony! And learn more about our winners:

Award for Individual Achievement in Advocacy
Lauri Cole, MSW – New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

New York State began the transition to managed care in 2013. As the Council’s executive director, Lauri helped to ensure $120 million in premium savings due to implementation delays remained in the behavioral health system. Her push for transparency created a barrier to these funds being re-appropriated elsewhere in the state budget. Learn more.



Award for Public Service in Advocacy
Representative Leslie Herod – Colorado House of Representatives

As the first LGBTQ African American elected to the General Assembly, Rep. Herod has been passionate about advocating for mental health and substance use treatment. She championed a bill that creates a .25% sales tax in Denver, raising approximately $35 million annually for treatment funding each year, and creates the largest mental health foundation in the state. It will increase access to thousands of Denver residents who may not previously have had access. Learn more.


Award for Organizational Achievement in Advocacy

New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA)

As the pandemic roared into New Jersey, NJAMHAA worked with state leaders to ensure that the necessary work was done to resolve MAT issues, as well as prevent recent increases to long-term residential SUD treatment rates from being cut. Their advocacy during the pandemic has also led to several big wins, including legislation for expanded telehealth. Learn more.

For a view into our previous award winners, click here.

A special thank you to Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for sponsoring the 2020 Advocacy Leadership Awards. Sunovion is a leading global pharmaceutical company focused on the innovative application of science and medicine to help people with serious medical conditions. With patients at the center of everything it does, Sunovion has charted new paths to life-transforming treatments that reflect ongoing investments in research and development and an unwavering commitment to support people with psychiatry, neurology and respiratory conditions.