Skip to main content

Regional Policy Council

Regional Policy Council Banner

Join our in-person RPC meeting: Winning the race against criminalization on August 6, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Register for meeting

The Mental Health America (MHA) Regional Policy Council (RPC), established in 2009, is guided by four of MHA’s most knowledgeable public policy and executive affiliate leaders, known as the RPC Representatives. Working alongside MHA staff these policy experts mobilize grassroots and grass tops advocacy, share information, and provide and facilitate mentorship with affiliates about state and federal legislation and initiatives. 

Each Representative works closely with a designated cluster of state affiliates, holding monthly calls and keeping them apprised about urgent and emerging advocacy and policy issues, and pending legislation. Some of the most consistent and pressing issues addressed through the RPC include assuring access to non-discriminatory coverage that includes integrated care and that emphasizes prevention and earliest intervention, especially for young people. Also foremost for the RPC is increasing access without undo barriers to care and treatment that people want and that meets their needs. 

The RPC works to promote knowledge about and the use of peers at all levels of care and support. The RPC continues its on-going focus on eliminating and reducing harm. This includes advocacy to reduce suicide, including building out local 988 systems, and furthering suicide prevention through education and awareness and increasing safety in the home. RPC’s harm reduction activities also include the promotion of deflecting people with mental health and substance use needs away from involvement with the criminal justice system. 

Informing all the work of the RPC is the goal of increasing equity and non-discrimination in public policy, legislation, and regulation, helping to assure that everyone has opportunities to engage in education and employment so that they may fully engage and thrive in communities of their choosing.

In addition to all the behind the scenes and public advocacy, each year the RPC facilitates at least three one-hour webinars, and four in-person or virtual multi-part meetings that coincide with national legislator groups, including the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the Council of State Governments (CSG). A much-anticipated part of RPC meetings is honoring state legislators as Mental Health and Substance Use Champions. To date, the RPC has recognized over 125 bipartisan state legislative champions.

2024 Regional Meetings

MHA’s Regional Policy Council (RPC) meetings and events coincide with major policymaker groups. Our in-person Regional Policy Council meetings are tentatively scheduled for August 5 or 6 in Louisville, Kentucky in conjunction with the National Council of State Legislators meeting, and December 4 in New Orleans, Louisiana in conjunction with the Council of State Governments meeting. Please note that any dates listed are tentative and are subject to change. Please contact Elisha Coffey at or Executive Vice President of State and Federal Advocacy Debbie Plotnick at for more information.

*Links to more information for each meeting will be added as updates are announced.

Past Regional Policy Council Meetings

2023 Regional Policy Council Representatives

Barbara Johnston, Director of Advocacy, MHA in New Jersey  
Represents (VT), NY, NJ, CT, DE, PA, MD, VA, RI, MA, (ME), and (NH)

Ben Harrington, Executive Director, MHA of East Tennessee  
Represents IN, TN, LA, TX, MS, AL, OK, AZ, (AR), (NM), and (WV)

Shannah Mulvihill, Executive Director, Mental Health Minnesota  
Represents OH, IL, WI, MN, MO, KS, MI, NE, IA, ND, MT, CO, UT, KY, (SD), and (ID)

Laura Evans, Director, National and State Policy, Vibrant Emotional Health
Represents NC, SC, GA, FL, CA, HI, (WY), (NV), (WA), (OR), and (AK)