Professional News
Senator Honored for MH Efforts
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 17 page 4-4

Nicholas Meyers, director of APA's Department of Government Relations (left), and APA Medical Director James H. Scully Jr., M.D. (right) present Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) with APA's Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award in his Capitol Hill office on July 27.

The annual award from APA's Committee on Government Relations is the Association's highest recognition of a public official who has made a significant contribution to improving the lot of those who are mentally ill.

Smith was recognized for his efforts as chair of the Special Committee on Aging, where he has held hearings on the new Medicare Part D drug benefit in which he focused on ensuring that people with mental illness would have continued access to their medications.

In the last Congress, Smith led efforts to pass legislation, the Garret Lee Smith Act, to establish a new youth suicide prevention and early intervention initiative. The initiative provides over $31 million in grants that support screening, assessment, and early intervention programs in school systems, institutions of higher learning, juvenile justice systems, foster care programs, and youth support organizations. The legislation was named after Smith's son, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and eventually committed suicide.

APA established the Javits award in 1986 to honor the legacy of a U.S. senator from New York who achieved multiple successes on behalf of the mentally ill and on substance abuse issues. Past recipients include New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D), Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), and Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.).

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