OLYMPIA – Sen. Manka Dhingra was recognized by the Washington branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI WA) for her work as chair of the Senate’s Behavioral Health Subcommittee and for her commitment to improving the entirety of Washington’s behavioral health system.

Because of her work, the Redmond lawmaker was selected as one of NAMI WA’s 2019 Behavioral Health Champions.

“Sen. Dhingra played a pivotal role in improving our state’s behavioral health system,” said Brad Forbes, NAMI WA’s Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. “Her important work on medical privacy and improving the Involuntary Treatment Act will reduce the stigma of mental illness and help patients for years to come.”

Senate Democrats placed an intensified focus of the state’s behavioral health system with the creation of the Behavioral Health Subcommittee. As chair, Dhingra saw through numerous policies to invest in the state’s behavioral health facilities, support services and training opportunities for prospective behavioral health professionals.

“I am so proud of the work we did in the Senate to not only invest in our state’s behavioral health system, but really to start looking at this issue through a modern, evidence-based lens,” Dhingra said. “Every family has been touched by a behavioral health issue in some way. We must speak openly and thoughtfully about it and ensure that we have an early intervention system that leaves no one behind.”

“Thank you to everyone who worked so hard on this issue this year, and thank you to my friends at NAMI for your long history of advocacy for people and families in crisis.”

Dhingra has been on the board of NAMI-Eastside since 2010 and is a past President of that organization’s Board of Directors.

Other recipients of the 2019 Behavioral Health Champion award include: Rep. Eileen Cody (D- 36th District); Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-27th District); Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43rd District); Rep. Joe Schmick (R- 9th District); Rep. Carolyn Eslick (R- 39th District); Rep. Noel Frame (D- 36th District); Rep. Tana Senn (D- 41st District); Sen. Manka Dhingra (D- 45th District); Sen. David Frockt (D- 46th District); Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D- 27th District); Sen. Steve O’Ban (R- 28th District).