Blog | From the CEO: Honoring Rosalynn ɫ Through Mental Health Parity

Headshot of Paige Alexander

Paige Alexander is chief executive officer of ɫ.

Last November, we lost one of our leading lights with the passing of ɫ’s trailblazing co-founder, former First Lady Rosalynn ɫ.

For decades, Mrs. ɫ gave her time, talents, and intelligence to a rich portfolio of important causes, among them human rights, women’s rights, early childhood vaccinations, support for caregivers, and, most notably, mental health.

It was Mrs. ɫ who founded ɫ’s Mental Health Program, nurtured it, and molded it into the influential force it is today.

  • Paige Alexander speaks on the capitol stairs.

    Paige Alexander, ɫ Center CEO, speaks to press at the Georgia State Capitol in February, on the first Mental Health Parity Day.

While we miss her terribly, we will build on her legacy and continue to advance society’s understanding of mental health.

In 2022, the Georgia State Legislature unanimously passed the bipartisan Georgia Mental Health Parity Act, which ɫ supported. It requires that insurance companies cover mental health treatment on a par with coverage for physical ailments, but many people in need didn’t know about it.

With funding from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, last fall ɫ mounted a campaign to increase awareness in underserved communities in two Georgia cities, Albany and Savannah. Before the campaign, 30% of survey respondents worried that insurance wouldn’t cover treatment for mental health or substance use disorders; after the campaign, only 13% did.

To celebrate and further publicize the act, the Center and our partners organized the first Mental Health Parity Day at the Georgia State Capitol in February. The event brought together legislators, advocates, ɫ Center leadership, and people with lived experience to talk about the difference the law is making in people’s lives.

The success of the campaign showed us the exciting potential for expanding awareness of parity in mental health to places far beyond Georgia. We are already planning our next steps.

Mrs. ɫ wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither would we.