Sen. Stabenow honored by NAMI Michigan | News, Sports, Jobs


MARQUETTE—US Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, was named Monday as the recipient of the 2022 National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Michigan IB Sendi Lifetime Achievement award.

The award, presented by NAMI Michigan and New Oakland Family Centers, recognizes a “career of outstanding public service that has included an extraordinary commitment to the cause of mental health care and awareness,” organizers said in an announcement.

“This award is so meaningful to me. I have been passionate about creating health care parity between mental health and physical health care my entire career. I am heartened by the progress we have made in addressing the stigma around mental health and in getting people the help they need in the community,” Stabenow said in a statement. “I want to thank NAMI Michigan and New Oakland Family Centers for being such strong partners over the years and for recognizing my work, as well as the work of so many advocates, families and providers who are on the front lines in providing care every day .”

NAMI Michigan and New Oakland jointly developed the IB Sendi award to “recognize careers of distinguished achievement from across the wide spectrum of disciplines involved in the advancement of mental health care and advocacy,” organizers said. The award was presented at the 2022 NAMI Michigan Honors gala banquet in Detroit.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to recognize Sen. Stabenow’s lifetime of work and commitment to the cause of mental health care and awareness,” said Kevin Fischer, executive director of NAMI Michigan, in a statement. “This may be a ‘lifetime achievement award,’ but we are looking forward to seeing so many more achievements from this extraordinary public servant and leader.”

Stabenow received a bachelor’s degree and master of social work degree from Michigan State University. She worked with youth in the public schools before running for public office. For five of her 12 years in the Michigan House of Representatives, Stabenow chaired the Mental Health Committee. She also wrote the Children’s Mental Health Act.

“From the beginning, Stabenow’s career has emphasized the importance of mental health care in the lives of the people she has served,” organizers said.

Since her election to the US Senate in 2000, she has authored the provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that requires all plans in states’ health insurance marketplaces to offer mental health and substance abuse services at the same level as other health services.

Since that time, she has co-sponsored “a number of important initiatives dedicated to increasing the quality of and access to mental health services in Michigan and across the country,” according to organizers.

Most recently, Stabenow has been “the driving force behind the transformational Certified Community Behavioral Health Center initiative,” a federal project that funds mental health and addiction services at community health clinics, organizers said. Ten states, including Michigan, are participating in the full CCBHC program.

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