NAMI Consumer Council Honors Paolo del Vecchio Associate Director, SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services

Jun 30 2010

Washington, D.C.–- The Consumer Council of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has honored Paolo del Vecchio with its annual Gloria Huntley Award that recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant strides in reducing the use of restraints and seclusion in the treatment of mental illness.

Del Vecchio is associate director for Consumer Affairs at the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Paolo del Vecchio has been a leading champion in working for prevention or reduction of the use restraints and seclusion in mental health care and the development of alternative, evidence-based practices," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J Fitzpatrick. "This is a high honor made by the council in conjunction with NAMI’s national convention."

del Vecchio’s work has included overseeing development of SAMHSA’s Roadmap to Seclusion & Restraint Free Mental Health Services, a guide with training modules to increase awareness of alternative practices.

As associate director of CMHS, del Vecchio manages activities addressing consumer participation and education, consumer rights and discrimination and social inclusion.

Prior to federal service, he worked for the Philadelphia Office of Mental Health.

NAMI Consumer Council is an advisory body to the NAMI Board of Directors, consisting of individuals who have or have had a mental illness, representing each state and the District of Columbia

The award is named for Gloria Huntley, a consumer who died after being restrained for 26 continuous days at Central State Hospital in Virginia. Her death led to Congressional hearings and legislation, federal and accrediting body regulatory reforms and SAMHSA resources.

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy.