ARLINGTON, Va., July 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will honor California Senate President Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey on July 9 at its national convention in San Francisco.
Steinberg will receive NAMI's Distinguished Service Award, while Lacey will receive the Criminal Justice Award for compassionate service in seeking to decriminalize mental illness and diverting non-violent offenders into treatment.
"Senator Steinberg's and District Attorney Lacey's leadership and influence extend far beyond California's borders," said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti. "The awards are two of NAMI's highest honors for contributions in improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness."
NAMI will present the awards at the closing banquet of the convention which is being held July 6-9, with the theme "Embracing the Future."
"Senator Steinberg and District Attorney Lacey have demonstrated the kind of vision and hard work needed in every state, county, city and town if we are to build a mental health care system that truly embraces the future."
Steinberg's contributions include:
*Passage of Proposition 63, the 1% "millionaire's tax" that funds innovative mental health programs and has provided over a billion dollars per year for mental health initiatives.
*Establishment of the Steinberg Institute for Advancing Mental Health Policy, after leaving the legislature, to help build a comprehensive network of community services and supports.
*Provision of prevention and early intervention services through schools, community centers and faith-based organizations.
*Legislation targeting resources to people with mental illness who are at greatest risk for hospitalizations, homelessness or incarceration.
Lacey is founder and chair of the Los Angeles County Criminal Justice Mental Health Project, designed to divert individuals into treatment instead of incarceration, relieve jail overcrowding, support re-entry into communities with linkage to services, improve mental health outcomes and reduce recidivism.
Her contributions include:
*Creation of alternative sentencing courts for nonviolent offenders including the Los Angeles County Veterans Court, Women's Re-entry Court and Co-Occurring Disorders Court.
*Examining innovative policies and programs throughout the nation.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness