Darneille named 2015 NAMI Washington Legislator of the Year

August 28th, 2015|

OLYMPIA – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Washington has named Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, as a 2015 Washington Legislator of the Year for her continued advocacy to improve mental health services on behalf of those living with mental illness and their families.

“It is a great honor to receive this recognition,” said Darneille. “NAMI has been one of my best partners in understanding the importance and advocating for increased access to mental health services and treatment in our state. These services are not a single issue, and many times, there are other factors at play for those with mental illness that must not be ignored. As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee, and as a member of the Law & Justice Committee, I see many opportunities to enact positive policy change and where we can make investments in order to improve our state’s human services and mental health systems.

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, one of Darneille’s seat mates in the House of Representatives, also received the honor.

“One of NAMI’s top priorities this session, the assisted outpatient treatment bill, was spearheaded by Sen. Jeannie Darneille in the Senate, and Rep. Laurie Jinkins in the House,” said Lauren Simonds, Executive Director of NAMI Washington. “Both of these lawmakers are ardent champions in Pierce County and the state for improving the lives of individuals affected by mental illness and their families. It is NAMI’s great honor to recognize them for their work.”

During the 2015 Legislative Session, a number of critical mental health bills were passed and significant investments were funded in the state Operating Budget. The increases in funding and policy updates will help improve mental health services and treatment options in Washington state.

“Legislation passed this year builds on the continuum of work that we’ve done to address mental health in our state,” said Darneille. “In 2014, I was the prime sponsor of legislation that is working to integrate mental health, chemical dependency, and health care services. We continue to have much work to accomplish in order to meet the 2016 and 2020 deadlines set forth in that bill.”

NAMI Washington has been working since 1979 to offer education, support, advocacy, and hope backed by research and data to individuals and families affected by mental illness. There are 22 local NAMI Washington affiliates that serve communities statewide.