Senator Stabenow Named Sandy Hook Promise Champion for Work to Expand Mental Health Care

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was honored by Sandy Hook Promise for her work to increase access to quality community mental health care. In one of the most significant steps forward in community mental health funding in decades, a demonstration project based on Senator Stabenow's Excellence in Mental Health Act was signed into law by President Obama in April 2014. Sandy Hook Promise is a national organization that formed after the tragic 2012 shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. In addition to preventing gun violence, the group strives to increase mental health awareness through initiatives like the Know the Signs program, which teaches community members how to identify mental illness and help prevent future tragedies.

"It is an honor to be recognized by such a courageous group of individuals who have endured unspeakable loss and have chosen to turn their pain into positive change to help others and save lives," said Senator Stabenow. "Mental illness is an important issue that touches every family in some way. I believe the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which is being implemented right now, will make a real difference in the lives of people who need treatment and their families."

Senator Stabenow's Excellence in Mental Health Act establishes criteria for certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to ensure the providers cover a broad range of mental health services, including 24-hour crisis care, increased integration of physical, mental and substance abuse treatment so consumers are treated simultaneously rather than separately, and expanded support for families of people living with mental health issues. Just last month an initiative was launched based on Senator Stabenow's bill.

Sandy Hook Promise was founded in January 2013 to prevent future violence by promoting mental health care and gun violence prevention programs. U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Clinical Psychologist and University of Virginia Professor Dewey Cornell were also honored at the event.