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Leaders from Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin recognized at meeting on cutting-edge mental health treatments and supports

Alexandria, VA – Mental Health America (MHA) today recognized six state legislators as 2023 Legislative Champions during MHA’s Regional Policy Council (RPC) meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. These legislators demonstrated a commitment to furthering mental health and substance use disorder policies and access in their states.

The legislators recognized as MHA 2023 Legislative Champions were:

  • Illinois Rep. Lindsey LaPointe for her work to increase funding for mental health and improve behavioral health supports for first responders, and for chairing the Illinois Mental Health Committee.
  • Minnesota Sen. Melissa Wiklund for her commitment to advancing mental health funding and policy initiatives and for serving as a chief author and advocate for the establishment of a telecom fee in Minnesota to support the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
  • Mississippi Rep. Kevin Felsher for sponsoring legislation to help the state implement the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline and for advocating for Mississippi’s first mental health diversion center and statewide mental health diversion court.
  • North Carolina Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed for introducing policy funding school social workers and psychologists, funding mental health courts, and creating bipartisan legislation protecting children and youth from the harmful effects of internet addiction by regulating social media companies.
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gregory for introducing a resolution to create a Mental Health Matters Task Force, for working to increase funding for mental health programs, and for his strong support for parity for mental health and substance use conditions.
  • Wisconsin Sen. Jesse James for authoring and co-sponsoring legislation to create crisis urgent care and observation centers for people in mental health crises, increasing funding for mental health services, and working to establish a statewide mental health diversion court program.

“Mental Health America heartily congratulates and humbly thanks these dedicated legislators from both sides of the aisle who, through their actions, deeds and words, have increased awareness and access to mental health and substance use services and supports in their states,” said Debbie Plotnick, executive vice president for state and federal advocacy at Mental Health America. "Mental Health America prioritizes access and equity in public policy, legislation, and regulation, and these leaders exemplify those goals."

Today’s RPC meeting, Innovations for Now and the Future, focused on in-depth policy exploration of current and emerging cutting-edge mental health treatments and supports, including psychedelic therapies, pharmacogenomics, digital therapies and peer support, and advances in services for veterans.

The RPC is guided by Mental Health America’s most knowledgeable public policy and executive affiliate leaders who work alongside Mental Health America staff to mobilize grassroots and grasstops advocacy, share information, and provide and facilitate mentorship with affiliates about state and federal legislation and initiatives.


About Mental Health America

Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-driven nonprofit dedicated to promoting mental health and well-being, resilience, recovery, and closing the mental health equity gap. Mental Health America’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of whole-person health, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; and integrated care, services and supports for those who need them. Learn more at