Thursday, 26 January 2023

Assemblymember James Ramos getting national award for mental well-being advocacy

California Assemblymember James C. Ramos will be recognized by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing for extraordinary advocacy work during Hill Day at Home, the group’s annual advocacy event promoting bipartisan solutions for mental health and substance providers and patients.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s 2021 Advocacy Leadership Awards, supported by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., recognizes individuals and organizations that have led legislative or regulatory advocacy and public policy efforts expanding access to services and supports for people with mental health and/or substance use challenges.

Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, said about Ramos’s selection, “The relentless advocacy of Assemblymember James C. Ramos has made a difference, not only for his constituents but for the entire state of California. Rising suicide rates — particularly among youth — demand a strong and swift response from our public health system. As a result of Assemblymember Ramos’ leadership, California now has a statewide Office of Suicide Prevention with dedicated funding to help support crisis services. This effort will undoubtedly save lives.”

“I am honored to receive this national recognition for mental health advocacy and legislation,” Ramos said. “Too often we forget that mental health is as important as physical health. As a state and a nation we need to ensure we all have access to needed services and that the stigma of seeking and receiving mental health care is eliminated.”

As a California legislator, Ramos has been a champion of children’s mental health. He successfully introduced legislation to expand school suicide prevention policies to cover K-6 students and to combat student bullying.

In 2021, Ramos introduced a measure to streamline the process of creating children’s crisis residential programs and helping to ensure those services are available to families.

Of special note, and in partnership with the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Ramos authored AB 2112 to establish the state’s first Office of Suicide Prevention at the California Department of Public Health, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. This historic office will, for the first time in California, provide leadership on suicide prevention and focus on vulnerable groups, including youth, tribal youth, LGBTQ+ and older adults.

Ramos was nominated for the award by the California Alliance of Child and Family Services. “During his tenure in the California Legislature, Assemblymember Ramos has proved himself to be the champion of children’s behavioral health care,” said Christine Stoner-Mertz, CEO of the California Alliance. “Assemblymember Ramos established the state’s first Office of Suicide Prevention and secured funding to implement it. He has championed intensive treatment options for youth in foster care. And he has authored legislation that will support children in a behavioral health crisis. The California Alliance was proud to nominate Assemblymember Ramos for this deserving Public Service in Advocacy award. It is due to his efforts that California has new tools and resources to marshal for better mental health care in California.”

“Uplift Family Services couldn’t be prouder of the leadership and passion Assemblymember Ramos has demonstrated during these turbulent COVID-19 years,” said Eva M. Terrazas, vice president of Public Policy and Special Initiatives at Uplift Family Services. “Assemblymember Ramos’s laser focus on addressing the behavioral health needs of youth, particularly BIPOC youth, not only addresses the structural inequalities in health care but also moves us forward by providing racially equitable solutions.”

“Faced with a pandemic, workforce challenges and rising demand for mental health and substance use treatment services, this year’s advocacy award winners have risen to the challenge and gone above and beyond to improve the mental well-being of their communities,” Ingoglia said. “Under their proactive leadership, innovative new programs and partnerships were created, and new funding was secured to get people the care they need. Their work — and their relentless drive to realize their visions — will have a lasting impact and is a blueprint for smart and effective advocacy.”

The National Council will honor its 2021 Advocacy Leadership Award winners at a reception during Hill Day at Home on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Learn more about the 2021 Advocacy Leadership Award program.

The Advocacy Leadership Awards will be broadcast from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Those who wish to watch the ceremony must register by using the Hill Day at Home link.

Once registered, registrants will receive an email with a Badge ID and a link to login on the Hill Day At Home site to access presentations and the Advocacy Leadership Awards broadcast. By clicking on the “Agenda” button on the left, the day’s program, including the awards portion, can be viewed on the livestream.

Ramos represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.

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