For Immediate Release
February 1, 2019

 MHAMD Honors Former Maryland State Senators Kasemeyer and Middleton, Delegate Sample-Hughes,  Behavioral Health Administration’s Merrick at 2019 Legislative Briefing

Author and Mental Health Advocate Sue Klebold to Deliver Keynote; MD Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford to Speak on Hogan Administration’s Behavioral Health Priorities

Lutherville, Md. — The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) honors the state’s champions of behavioral health and offers an overview of its legislative priorities at its 2019 Legislative Briefing and Reception to be held on February 5 in Annapolis.

The organization will recognize retired state senators Edward J. Kasemeyer and Thomas “Mac” Middleton with the Lifetime Distinguished Service Award, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes as its Legislator of the Year and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration’s Tom Merrick with the Paula U. Hamburger Child Advocacy Award.

Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford is scheduled to appear to present Governor Larry Hogan’s behavioral health priorities for fiscal year 2020, including the establishment of the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland. The event will conclude with a keynote speech from Sue Klebold, the author of A Mother’s Reckoning and nationally-known mental health advocate.

“This past year we realized big victories in Annapolis for Marylanders living with mental health or substance use needs, and we are working to keep this momentum going in 2019,” says MHAMD Chief Executive Officer Linda Raines. “On February 5, we will gather in Annapolis to celebrate these accomplishments and to honor a special group of individuals whose dedication and leadership have improved the lives of countless Marylanders. We look forward to hearing from Lt. Governor Rutherford to learn more about the Hogan Administration’s priorities for behavioral health in fiscal year 2020.”

Lifetime Distinguished Service Award recipients Kasemeyer and Middleton will be recognized for accomplishments throughout their lengthy legislative careers on a wide range of policy reforms and budgetary initiatives that improved access to care for Marylanders whose needs would otherwise have gone unmet.

Sample-Hughes is honored as Legislator of the Year for her leadership in the passage of important 2018 legislation that expands access to care for Maryland children and adults with behavioral health needs.

Merrick receives the Paula U. Hamburger Child Advocacy Award for his more than 30 years of work at the BHA serving the behavioral care needs of Maryland’s children.

The evening’s keynote presenter, Sue Klebold, will be speaking on a challenging topic for the mental health community. Klebold is among the parents impacted by the Columbine school shooting that took place nearly 20 years ago. Not only did she lose her son Dylan, who was one of the individuals who carried out the school shooting, but as a parent survivor she bears the overwhelming guilt resulting from this senseless loss of life in her ordinary suburban community.

After many years of reflection, Sue has chosen to come forward, despite the personal difficulty in doing so. She emerged a passionate advocate, dedicated to the advancement of mental health awareness, research and suicide prevention.

“We look forward to hearing from Sue as she shares her moving story,” says Raines. “Her experience can help us as we work together to build strong communities and find effective solutions for all youth in Maryland.”

The 2019 Legislative Briefing and Reception will be held at the Hotel Annapolis at 126 West Street in Annapolis. The event is open to the public, and press is invited to attend. Press queries and RSVP requests can be directed to Noel Lloyd, director of communications, at 443-901-1550 or email.


The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) is the state’s only volunteer, nonprofit citizens’ organization that brings together consumers, families, professionals, advocates and concerned citizens for unified action in all aspects of mental health and mental illness. MHAMD envisions a just, humane and healthy society in which all people are accorded respect, dignity and the opportunity to achieve their full potential free from stigma and prejudice. For more information visit

# # #

Help MHAMD now

Every donation makes a difference

Translate »