(NASHVILLE, TN), September 21, 2010 – State Senator Doug Overbey (R- Maryville) has been named “Legislator of the Year” in Tennessee for his efforts on behalf of citizens with mental illness. The award “in recognition of his dedication to the health and mental health of the people of Tennessee” was presented to Overbey this past weekend in Chattanooga by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nationwide advocacy group.
“This award is a great honor and I am humbled to receive it,” said Senator Overbey. “It is very important that patients have access to treatment and the kind of recovery supports needed to improve our mental health system. We must address financial barriers to effective treatment. I appreciate this recognition and am glad to partner with NAMI to push for better healthcare services for those who suffer from mental illness in Tennessee.”
Overbey received the award as over 350 mental health care consumers, family members, mental health service providers, veterans and university students looked on. In presenting the Award, Sita Diehl, NAMI’s recent executive director, cited Overbey’s work on legislation which restored $659 million in proposed cuts to the TennCare program. The cuts would have drastically affected patients with mental illness.
“The many bills you have sponsored will protect people with mental illness and ensure the stability of mental health consumers and families in Tennessee,” Roger Stewart, Interim Director of NAMI Tennessee told Overbey. “As the economy continues to present major challenges, your pledge to support the mental health community is deeply appreciated. We are fortunate that a person of your caliber serves the people of Tennessee in the state legislature.”
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country. The organization is dedicated to the eradication of mental illnesses and to the improvement of the quality of life for persons of all ages who are affected by mental illnesses.