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New Hampshire State Rep. MacKay receives Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award

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 live.” 

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 Wittman.   

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 license.    

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.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.