You are here: / / Manatee Glens President/CEO Mary Ruiz Wins Advocacy Award
|The National Council for Behavioral Health awarded Manatee Glens President/CEO Mary Ruiz National Council for Behavioral Health’s Individual Achievement in Advocacy award, supported by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. She was recognized for her initiative to secure support and funding from the Florida Legislature and Governor’s office for the Community Action Treatment (CAT) Teams to deploy statewide.Ms. Ruiz’s legislative activities focused on the March to May 2013 Florida Legislative session and followed by work with the Governor’s Office in May and June to prevent a veto of the funding. Ms. Ruiz was nominated by the Manatee County Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
The annual award recognizes an individual—a person in recovery from a mental illness or addiction, family member, healthcare professional, staff, board member, or other caring citizen— who has done outstanding work in advocating for local, state or federal legislation, regulations, or other public policies that increase access to mental health and addiction treatment services.
“Congratulations to Mary Ruiz on winning the Individual Achievement in Advocacy award. Her untiring advocacy has brought hope to families across Florida. She mobilized the grassroots and demonstrated to legislators that children and youth with emotional problems can stay at home, in school and out of trouble if they get needed treatment and robust community support. Her work is truly inspiring,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health.
“It seems that every week we hear of some teen or young person who commits a shocking act of violence. The family says they tried but couldn’t get the help their child needed,” explained NAMI Manatee chapter president George Manson. “Mary’s hard work helped create a model that will provide behavioral health services to offer real relief for these families. This is exactly the kind of work we encourage and support. We are honored to have nominated Mary Ruiz for the ‘Individual Achievement in Advocacy Award.’ Her friendship to our organization is priceless.”
The outcome of Ms. Ruiz’s advocacy efforts was $6,750,000 to fund a pilot of 10 CAT Teams across the state. For the first time, Florida is funding transition services for 18-21 year olds in the youth system. Florida is also offering an intensive home and community-based alternative for youth and young adults with serious and persistent behavioral health disorders. Further, Florida is moving to the new healthcare age by integrating care for mental health, substance abuse and primary care coordination that meets the total family needs.
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