Alexandria, Va., February 28, 2007 - The American Mental Health Counselors Association is pleased to announce that Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) has agreed to serve as Honorary Chair of Mental Health Counseling Week, to be held May 7-13, during National Mental Health Month.
Mental Health Counseling Week is designated each year to educate parents and families, communities, schools, health policymakers and insurers, health professionals, and employers about the importance of good mental health and the profession of mental health counseling.
Rep. Rangel has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York, which encompasses Upper Manhattan and the neighborhoods of Harlem, Washington Heights and portions of the Upper West Side. He is a decorated war veteran, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War.
In January 2007, Rangel became the first African American to serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the Medicare program. Rangel is currently the fourth-longest serving Democratic House member and is the co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. He is also Chairman of the Congressional Narcotics Abuse and Control Caucus, which works to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and to solve the nation's continuing drug abuse crisis.
Rangel is a long time supporter of mental health counselors and was the first House sponsor, during the 102nd Congress, of legislation to establish Medicare coverage of state-licensed mental health counselors. He has been an advocate for those affected by mental illness and for those in need of mental health services, and is a co-sponsor of mental health parity and other mental health related legislation.
"AMHCA applauds Rep. Rangel for his work on behalf of those who suffer from mental illness, and for his commitment to working in Congress to make mental health services more widely available to our nation's citizens," said AMHCA President Gail Mears, PsyD, LCMHC, NCC. "We are honored to have Rep. Rangel serve as Honorary Chair of Mental Health Counseling Week and look forward to working with him in the future, especially as Congress addresses Medicare's meager mental health benefit."
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