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Regional Policy Council

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The  Mental Health America (MHA) Regional Policy Council (RPC) cultivates a constructive partnership with its affiliate field, state policy leaders, and other mental health stakeholders working together to initiate, advocate for, and implement federal and state policies that positively affect children, youth, and adults living with mental health and substance use conditions.

MHA established the RPC in 2009 to work with MHA's Public Policy and Advocacy Department to achieve these policy goals in a coordinated and effective manner.

MHA's most knowledgeable public policy and executive affiliate leadership serve a one year term on the RPC.

Many of the issues facing mental health treatment infrastructure and adequacy are related to implementation of federal laws, or are state level issues that are common across the states.

Each state faces challenges related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid Expansion, the Mental Health Parity and Equity Act (MHPAEA), integration of behavioral health services, workforce adequacy, access to community-based services and supports, and the use of peers.

The RPC forms a nationwide movement toward a robust mental health system that promotes prevention and early intervention initiatives, access to integrated community-based treatments, and supports that are recovery-focused and that encompass community inclusion.

2022 Regional Meetings

MHA’s Regional Policy Council (RPC) meetings and events coincide with major policymaker groups. Please note that the dates listed below are tentative and are subject to change. Please contact Janelle Gonzaga at or Vice President of State and Federal Advocacy Debbie Plotnick at for more information.

Click on each meeting to learn more and register.*

*Links to more information for each meeting will be added as updates are announced.

Virtual RPC Meeting Coinciding with the National Governor's Association Winter Meeting

2022 Governor's Awards Honoring Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Virtual Regional Policy Meeting: Think Big, Act Locally

January 28, 2022

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

This event has concluded.

MHA’s Regional Policy Council will host its meeting coinciding with the National Governors Association Winter Meeting on Friday, January 28, 2022, from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET.  

The meeting, Think Big, Act Locally, will begin with affiliates Mental Health Colorado and MHA of Arizona presenting MHA's Governor Leadership Award to Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Following the Awards Ceremony, a federal overview and presentation about the newest federal comprehensive crisis bill will be offered. The meeting will continue with discussions from leading policy experts about high-priority state and local mental health issues amidst the landscape of COVID19. To conclude, a roundtable discussion will occur followed by a live Q&A session about local advocacy efforts. During the Roundtable, MHA's RPC Representatives from the affiliate field will present advocacy strategies that led to state and county changes. See the detailed agenda below.

Advance registration is required. Any questions about this virtual event may be directed to Debbie Plotnick or Caren Howard


12:00 pm ET

Introduction and Housekeeping
Debbie Plotnick, Vice President of State and Federal Advocacy, Mental Health America

12:05 pm ET

Welcome Remarks
Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO, Mental Health America

12:10 pm ET

Governors Award Ceremony
Gov. Jared Polis and Gov. Doug Ducey

Mental Health America Honors Two Governors For Commitment To Mental Health

12:25 pm ET

Federal Overview
Mary Giliberti, Executive Vice President of Public Policy, Mental Health America

12:35 pm ET

Discussing Congressman Cardenas' 988 Implementation Act
Eric Rafla-Yuan, MD, Jeanne Spurlock Congressional Fellow, Congressman Cardenas' Office

12:45 pm ET

Transitioning from Federal to State and Local Issues
Debbie Plotnick, Vice President of State and Federal Advocacy, Mental Health America

12:50 pm ET

Discussing State Issues
Aaron "AJ" Walker, Policy Manager, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)

1:00 pm ET

Discussing County and Rural Issues
Jonah Cunningham, President and CEO, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD)

1:10 pm ET

Roundtable with MHA's RPC Representatives
Barbara Johnston, MHA in New Jersey; Ben Harrington, MHA of East Tennessee; Maryanne "Moe" Keller, Mental Health Colorado; Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota 

1:40 pm ET

Live Q&A with MHA's RPC Representatives on Advocacy Strategies at the State and Local Levels

2:00 pm ET


Past Virtual Regional Policy Council Meetings

Crisis Equals Opportunity - December 2021

From Diversion To Deflection To Prevention - Summer 2021

Why Addressing Mental Health is Key to Budgeting and Legislating During COVID-19 - February 2021

Injustice and Inequity: The Path Toward Innovation and Inclusion - December 2020

COVID-19, Entrenched Inequities, and Police Practices - August 2020

2022 Regional Policy Council Representatives

Barbara Johnston, Director of Advocacy, MHA in New Jersey
Represents ME, NH, VT, NY, NJ, MA, CT, DE, PA, MD, VA

Ben Harrington, Executive Director, MHA of East Tennessee
Represents IN, KY, NC, SC, TN, AR, LA, TX, MS, GA, FL

Moe Keller, Vice President of Public Affairs and Systems Advocacy, Mental Health Colorado
Represents OK, ND, SD, WY, MT, CO, ID, AZ, NM, UT, NV, WA, OR, CA

Shannah Mulvihill, Executive Director, Mental Health Minnesota
Represents OH, IL, WI, MN, MO, KS, MI, NE, IA, HI

2022 Regional Policy Council Sponsors

Mental Health America would like to thank our generous sponsors for supporting the 2022 Regional Policy Council.