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Alexandria, VA – Today Mental Health America (MHA) recognized 11 state legislators as MHA’s 2022 Legislative Champions. Each was honored in Denver at MHA’s Regional Policy Council (RPC) meeting.

The legislators recognized were:

  • Colorado Rep. Judy Amabile, for her work to increase inpatient facility capacity in Colorado and sponsorship of bills aimed at improving payment systems for therapists in private practice.
  • Colorado Rep. Mary Young, for her work to improve the state’s mental health and substance use disorder crisis services, efforts to offset mental health professional licensing fees, and leadership in establishing a regional behavioral health entity. 
  • Georgia Rep. Gregg Kennard, for co-chairing the state’s Mental Health Policy Caucus and his efforts to expand workers’ compensation benefits for first responders who experience psychological injury on the job.
  • Georgia Rep. Todd Jones, for co-chairing the state’s Mental Health Policy Caucus and his work on the Mental Health Parity Act, which requires insurance plans regulated by the state of Georgia to follow the federal parity law and increases parity enforcement.
  • Connecticut Sen. Catherine Osten, for her work to create a task force focused on prevention and treatment of mental health conditions at higher education institutions, and her focus on improving mental health and substance use disorder treatment in Connecticut prisons.
  • Connecticut Rep. Toni Walker, for her work to increase funding for youth mental health programs and services, and her efforts to form community response teams that work with mobile crisis units.
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Wendi Thomas, for her work on an integrated care model in Pennsylvania that delivers mental health care in primary care settings, and her efforts advocating for more school mental health professionals.
  • New Jersey Sen. Vin Gopal, for his work to establish a statewide crisis system of care, efforts to increase suicide prevention training, and his focus on school-based mental health education.
  • Michigan Rep. Mary Whiteford, for her work to establish the Michigan Crisis and Access Line and align it with 988, and her efforts to fund crisis support services.
  • Delaware Rep. Ruth King, for her work to enhance access to telehealth and telemedicine services, and her efforts to ensure student access to mental health professionals in schools.
  • Delaware Sen. Laura Sturgeon, for her work to establish ratio requirements and increase the number of mental health professionals in elementary and middle schools, as well as for efforts to implement a statewide mental health education curriculum for each grade, K-12.

“These legislators are all working tirelessly in their states to improve mental health support and increase access to care for their constituents,” said Debbie Plotnick, executive vice president for state and federal advocacy at MHA, “We at MHA appreciate their commitment and commend their achievements in school-based mental health, parity, crisis care, telehealth, and more. They are an inspiration to the other legislators in their states and nationwide” 

Today’s RPC meeting, Peer-ing Into the Future, was held in person in Denver. The recording of the livestreamed meeting will be available soon


About Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at