National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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July 1, 2013 (Washington DC) —The National Council for Mental Wellbeing (National Council) welcomes Jeffrey Walter as its new board chair. Walter is the president and CEO of Rushford, a National Council member organization and Hartford HealthCare partner providing addiction, mental health, and prevention programs to thousands of people in Connecticut, New England and beyond.

“As board chair, I’m committed to securing Congressional passage of the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which is fundamental to assuring that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable behavioral healthcare,” said Walter. “The National Council will continue to ensure that addictions and mental health service organizations are at the table wherever health care policy and funding decisions are being made,” he added

Under Walter’s 30+ years of leadership, Rushford has grown from a substance use prevention facility to a system that provides a spectrum of services in behavioral health recovery, prevention and community education. Walter seeks to leverage his three decades of experience in addictions prevention and treatment to further the National Council’s advocacy efforts on behalf of more than 20 million Americans with addiction disorders.

Walter’s board leadership ushers in new focus at a time when the National Council has grown from strength to significance over 44 years, and has a strong advocacy voice with 2,000+ member organizations — in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Member organizations employ more than 500,000 staff and providing treatment and supports to more than 8 million adults and children with addiction disorders and mental illnesses. Having recently shortened its name to National Council for Mental Wellbeing (formerly National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare), the association remains committed to building “Healthy Minds and Strong Communities,” with increased emphasis on recovery from addictions as well as mental illness.

“Addiction is a public health crisis for which we are unprepared. Since 1980, 3.3 million people in the U.S. have died of addictions (while 600,000 people have died of AIDS). If it was any other disease, we’d be marching on the streets,” said Linda Rosenberg, President & CEO of the National Council. “The failure to integrate addiction prevention, treatment and recovery effectively into our nation’s health care structure costs more than a third of a trillion dollars annually, harming families and communities across the country. The National Council is committed to turning the spotlight on addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery and we’re honored to have Jeffrey Walter’s leadership as we pursue this mission,” she added.

The National Council also welcomes the following new directors elected to its board:

  • Eileen Durkin, MBA, President & CEO, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
  • John Kastan, PhD, Executive Director, Peninsula Counseling Center, Valley Stream, NY
  • Randy Tate, MSW, CEO, NorthCare, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Topher Hansen, JD,
CEO, CenterPointe, Lincoln, NE


The National Council for Mental Wellbeing (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 member organizations, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — more than eight million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 100,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities.

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