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Bill Conley Receives Gloria Segal Award
Since the 1980s, many people have played a role in the effort to change and improve Minnesota’s mental health care treatment, services, and supports, but a few of those Minnesotans stand at the top of the pyramid. Bill Conley is one of those few – one of the leaders in bringing better mental health care to Minnesota. When there was a mental health issue to be addressed by the Legislature over the last three decades, Bill was there. Bill was an unceasing driver toward the passage of the Adult Mental Health Act of 1987 and the Children’s Mental Health Act of 1989. He was at the forefront of the efforts that brought mental health parity for state regulated plans to Minnesota in the mid-1990s. Over the years, he has worked with legislators, administrations, providers, health plans, and advocates to fill the gaps and remove the loopholes in mental health care. He has been a central player in supporting enhanced employment supports for people with mental illnesses. Bill also fights tenaciously to ensure that people with a mental illness have equal protection under the law. Bill believes that equal treatment for mental illness and equal rights under the law are both critical as the state and nation move forward to better address remaining shortcomings in mental health care and support.
The Gloria Segal Award honors the memory of Representative Gloria Segal. Representative Segal served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1983 until her untimely death in 1993. In her 10 years in the legislature, she worked tirelessly to change the way people with mental illnesses are treated in Minnesota and led the way in the passage of groundbreaking legislation, such as mandating coverage of mental health treatment in group health insurance plans and the creation of the mental health division at the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Ombudsman’s Office for Mental Health, and the State Advisory Council. Past recipients of this award are Representative Mindy Greiling (2009), Robin Wold and Hope House in Bemidji, MN (2011), Joyce Pesch (2012), and Ron Brand (2013).
MHAM is Minnesota’s first mental health advocacy and outreach organization. Founded in 1939, MHAM’s mission is to enhance mental health, promote individual empowerment, and increase access to treatments and services for persons with mental illnesses. MHAM provides individual advocacy to guide individuals and families through the mental health system, represents people with mental illnesses in public policy to increase mental health system capacity and protect individual rights, and offers educational programs and outreach to individuals, families, front line providers, faith communities, and the general public.
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