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Congressional Mental Health Leaders Confirmed for MHA Annual Conference Next Month
Alexandria, VA—Mental Health America (MHA) is happy to announce that all four sponsors of the Helping Families in Health Crisis Act of 2016 will be in attendance to accept MHA’s 2017 Legislator Award at MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference, being held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on June 14-16.
MHA’s 2017 Legislator Award goes to U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Congressman Tim Murphy, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for their tireless efforts over the last two years to pass mental health reform. Last year, despite a polarizing Congress, they successful led the bipartisan passage of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than fifty years, which was later signed into law by President Barack Obama.
"As a result of this legislation, we are laying a new foundation for comprehensive mental health services and supports beginning when most mental illnesses begin – during childhood – and continuing through the life span,” said Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO. “This victory could not have been possible without Senators Cassidy and Murphy and Representatives Murphy and Bernice-Johnson.”
MHA’s 2017 Annual Conference is themed Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. We will discuss issues that many don’t talk about, but that impact many in the mental health and addiction communities every day: gender identity and depression, sexual trauma and its aftermath, and side effects of mental illness medication. We will talk about the opioid epidemic, prison reform, how people are overcoming alcohol and drug dependence and successfully finding pathways to resilience and recover, and how music, musicians, and artists are playing a major role in helping fans along their own paths to recovery.
The attendance of the policy makers adds to an already amazing event and line-up of speakers—Opening the conference on June 14th will be a conversation with former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and his wife Amy, Education Director at The Kennedy Forum on addiction, recovery and their ongoing efforts to reach parity for mental health care. Later that afternoon, MHA will welcome Grammy Award-winning singer Michelle Williams as an afternoon keynote speaker, and the evening will conclude with our Clifford W. Beers Awards Dinner. All three days of the conference are packed with great content—amazing breakout speakers, our Media Awards Luncheon on the 15th, emceed by NBC4 Washington’s Doreen Gentzler, and a special evening event with 2-time NYT best-selling author Glennon Doyle Melton. We expect additional speaker announcements in the coming weeks.