February 9, 2017

Washington County Mental Health Services CEO Mary Moulton receives advocacy award

MONTPELIER — Hundreds of Vermonters came together at the State House for Mental Health Advocacy Day on Tuesday, January 31st, with the theme being “Caring for Vermonters – Investing in Mental Health”. Many wonderful stories were shared, a training session was provided on advocacy, legislators addressed and were addressed by audience members, and the Mental Health Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Mary Moulton, Washington County Mental Health Services CEO.
The Mental Health Advocate Award was presented to Mary by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont (NAMI Vermont), Vermont Care Partners (VCP) and the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR). Mary was recognized for her years of service working in mental health in Vermont as a tireless advocate to make people’s lives better, both those who experience mental health challenges and those who work in the mental health field.
Mary is a consummate professional, who has served in many roles both at Washington County Mental Health and in state government. Mary continues to be a key player in creating a bridge between mental health and physical health, known as health integration, which is critical to ensuring excellent, cost effective care. Mary is also dedicated to creating a workforce that is strong and sustainable to ensure that the community mental health system continues to provide essential and cost effective services as it has done for the past 50 years.
Upon receiving her award, Mary spoke to the group about the importance of advocacy in educating and creating change. She shared that her greatest teachers have been those who have sought mental health services and shared their stories, which takes courage and will continue to be important as we strive to improve and build a system of services going forward.
In Vermont approximately 125,000 people are affected by mental illness – that’s 1 in 5 individuals. Nearly 1 in 20 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Most people living with mental illness lead fulfilling, productive lives, but only with access to treatment and community care.” Mental health affects all of us, in fact, at some point in their life, half of Vermonters will experience a mental health condition.
Congratulations to Mary for this award, and congratulations to all who participated in Mental Health Advocacy Day. Mental health is health, and this is a critical point to recognize as we move forward in creating the best health care system in Vermont.

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