COLUMBUS– Today, State Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) received the Mental Health Legislative Champion Award from Mental Health America (MHA), a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all people.
“Rep. Russo and I are honored to be recognized for the Mental Health Champion award. We have continuously advocated for mental health awareness and are so grateful to Mental Health America for their work to provide education, research and services for mental illnesses,” said Rep. Crawley. “Mental health has been a taboo topic for far too long, and as someone who has experienced mental health challenges, I know how important it is to remove the stigma, especially in black and brown communities (BIPOC) where mental health is rarely talked about for fear of being diagnosed with a mental illness and not being understood by family and friends. Rep. Russo and I look forward to working to increase the understanding and resources for people who suffer with mental health issues.”
“Rep. Crawley and I are so honored and humbled by this recognition from Mental Health America, especially given the work this organization has done for decades,” said Rep. Russo. “We have faced many challenges in the mental health space even before COVID-19, such as Ohio’s addiction crisis, rising suicide rates, and the toll of social isolation on health outcomes. However, with COVID-19 and the following economic recession, we are now facing new challenges in this space. This brings a renewed sense of dedication, and Rep. Crawley and I remain committed to ensuring access to necessary mental health care, expanding our mental and behavioral health workforce, enforcing mental health parity, integrating mental health and well-being into our school systems, and addressing the role systemic racism plays in mental health inequities in our black and brown communities.”
Rep. Crawley and Rep. Russo were nominated by MHA Ohio, an MHA affiliate, to be recognized as legislative mental health champions for their outstanding work on mental health issues.