By MELINDA WILLIAMS
For the second time this year, 12th District Delegate Joseph Yost (R-Pearisburg) has been recognized by a mental health organization as “Legislator of the Year” for his work on mental health issues during the 2013 Virginia General Assembly.
The Roanoke Valley Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently named Yost as its 2013 Legislator of the Year at its annual meeting in Salem. In March, Psychiatric Society of Virginia recognized Yost with the same honor.
Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed Yost in January to serve on the Governor’s Task Force for School and Campus Safety, partially as a result of his mental health advocacy.
In its recognition, NAMI pointed out Yost’s emergence as an outspoken advocate for individuals with mental illness and their families by calling for increased access to mental health care and reducing the stigma on mental illness.
During his first term in the Virginia General Assembly, Yost advocated for and successfully placed $1.2 million in the 2012-14 State Budget for crisis assessment centers in Virginia and during this past session, he successfully advocated for new or increased funding for mental health/suicide awareness training, children’s mental health services, discharge assistance planning and more crisis assessment centers in the Commonwealth.
“I am truly humbled to be recognized by NAMI Roanoke Valley. Advocating for individuals with mental illness and their families has been a passion and I have enjoyed working closely with NAMI affiliates across the Commonwealth,” Yost said of the award. “I look forward to our continued partnerships to raise awareness on mental health issues.”
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, seeking increased access to services, treatment and raising awareness of mental health issues. It seeks to better the lives of the one in four Americans affected by mental illness.
Yost serves all of Giles County, parts of Montgomery and Pulaski counties and the City of Radford.