WEST HARTFORD – Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford recently presented the 2019 Tara’s Closet Humanitarian Award to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
A mental health advocate, Murphy introduced the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act of 2015, signed into law in 2016, to expand federal resources and improve coordination for mental health and substance abuse treatment program. In addition, last week he introduced the Mental Health Parity Compliance Act of 2019, which aims to improve transparency and accountability to help ensure consumers have access to mental health and substance use services included in their plans.
“Senator Murphy has championed the cause and made an extraordinary difference nationally and in our Hartford community by helping children and families, and by strengthening the capacity of educators, early childhood and behavioral health professionals who work with youth and their parents in the home, school and community,” said Tara’s Closet Founder Barbara Roth, in presenting the award to Murphy. “It is an honor to present this award to Senator Chris Murphy for enacting the most significant reform of our mental health system in decades.”
In 2016, Roth, along with Jewish Family Services (JFS), launched Tara’s Closet, a local initiative that provides clothing to JFS clients coping with mental illness, and raises funds to help spread awareness about mental illness and the related services provided by JFS. The intiative was inspired by Roth’s daughter, Tara Savin, who lost her life to bipolar disorder. “Tara was a great humanitarian and she also loved fashion,” said Roth.
In accepting his award, Murphy said, “Mental illness and addiction do not discriminate, so our health care system shouldn’t either. It should be as easy to access a doctor or get prescriptions for an illness of the mind as it is for an illness of the body.”
“I will keep working with Republicans and Democrats to make sure our bipartisan coalition is fully engaged in mental health until every American has access to the proper resources,” he added.
“We are proud to present our 2019 Humanitarian Award to Senator Murphy,” said Anne Danaher, Jewish Family Services CEO. “His leadership and dedication to mental health awareness exemplifies our mission and is an inspiration for our agency.”