WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social
Workers Foundation (NASWF) is pleased to announce New Hampshire State Rep.
James MacKay will receive a Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award for his
tireless work in improving mental health services in his state and advocating
for programs to help prevent deaths by suicide.
“The NASW Foundation is proud to present
this award to Rep. James MacKay,” said NASWF Director Robert Arnold. “He has
dedicated his life to advocacy and service and shows how social workers who are
involved in public policy can help transform this nation into a better place to
The Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
Award goes to social workers who have made exemplary contributions in health
and mental health practice. The Knee/Wittman Award Program was established in
1990 to recognize those who represent the values, ethics, and approaches
exemplified by two dedicated social work pioneers, Ruth Knee and Milton
Rep. MacKay is certainly deserving of the
award. In this 88th year, after a lifetime of clinical work, teaching and,
advocacy, he continues to push for social issues as a state legislator. He has
served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for 18 years.
Prior to being elected as a state legislator,
Rep. MacKay served twelve years on the Concord City Council with four of
those as Mayor.
As a lawmaker he has been a key supporter
of legislation to improve the state’s mental health care delivery system. In
2008 Rep. MacKay was selected to chair the New Hampshire Mental Health Commission,
which brought together legislators and public and private mental health experts
to transform the state’s mental health system.
The commission issued a report, Fulfilling the Promise: Transforming New Hampshire’s Mental Health System. Other reports
followed on the state’s mental health and criminal justice systems. A decade
later, these reports and their recommendations are still being referenced.
Rep. MacKay has long been a champion of LGBT
issues. His leadership on these issues
goes back decades. He played a key role
in opposing a regulation requiring potential foster parents to sign a form that
they were not gay or lesbian to qualify for a foster care
Rep. MacKay was also a co-sponsor and
helped bring about passage of a bill to create a State Suicide Council to
implement the state’s suicide prevention plan. MacKay was elected the first
chairman of the group and is still active.
“Rep. MacKay has a reputation for being a
soft-spoken man but he is a strong voice for social justice, equity and access
to mental health services,” Arnold said. “He is also a long-time NASW member
and continues to promote the value, vision and mission of social work.”
Go here for more information on the Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award.