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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Somers wins national award for mental health advocacy

    Republican State Sen. Heather Somers answers a question during the 18th District Senate debate in 2020 with opponent Democrat Bob Statchen at the Garde Arts Center in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, has been named a 2023 Mental Health Legislative Champion by Mental Health America, a national nonprofit association.

    Somers will receive her award at MHA’s regional policy council legislative awards lunch in Indianapolis on Aug. 15.

    The MHA nominated Somers for her “outstanding work on mental health, actively engaging with mental health organizations, professionals, and community members to understand their needs and concerns,” along with her advocacy “for improved access to care,” it said in a Monday news release.

    Somers serves as ranking senator on the Public Health Committee. She helped expose a pattern of abuse at the state-run Whiting Forensic mental health facility, which led to systemic reforms, according to the news release.

    Somers represents Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Stonington, and Voluntown.

    “I am grateful for this recognition from MHA,” Somers said in the release. “We have a mental health crisis in Connecticut. We must continue working on a bipartisan basis to remove the stigma of mental illness.”

    Somers listed a few factors that are important for continuing to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness: prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated care and sufficient services and support for those who need it.

    “We are making positive strides in Connecticut in passing policies to help people living with mental health and substance use conditions, but there is much more work to do,” Somers said.

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