U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy to be Honored for Championing Mental Health Reforms

BETHEL, CT – In light of his ongoing efforts to repair the country’s mental health system, Ability Beyond is proud to announce that U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is the recipient of this year’s Celine Karraker Memorial Award. 

The award, named in honor of Interlude founder Celine Karraker, honors an individual who has made a direct and positive impact on people with disabilities. Murphy has been a vocal proponent of improving the lives of people with disabilities since co-authoring the Mental Health Reform Act in 2016. Murphy will accept the award during Ability Beyond’s annual Mental Health Autumn Breakfast on November 9th.  

“From his tenure in the state legislature to the U.S. Senate, Chris Murphy has always shared our mission and been a strong proponent of ensuring that people are treated equitably, regardless of their ability,” said Jane Davis, the Chief Executive Officer of Ability Beyond. “We couldn’t think of anyone better suited for the award and we look forward to presenting him with the honor this fall.” 

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi and Veasna Roeum of the Danbury Health Department will also be honored with the Theresa Foss Memorial Award for their contributions to the mental health, safety and physical well-being of the people we serve. Foss was Past-President and member of the Board of Directors of the National Charity League’s Ridgefield chapter. She gave countless hours volunteering for Interlude, now Ability Beyond, helping it develop into an organization that benefits the wider community. 

Karraker founded Interlude, which merged with Ability Beyond in 2012 in the late 1970’s when searching for services for her daughter Nell who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the time, institutionalization was the norm, but Karraker knew there had to be a better way. Her vision was to help people with mental illness live successfully in a community setting. It’s a mission we continue to this day.   

“Mental health is just as important as physical health, and yet our broken mental health system makes it way too difficult for most people to access the care they need,” said Murphy. “That’s especially true for people with disabilities. I’m grateful to Ability Beyond for their critical work in Connecticut, and I’m honored to receive this recognition. I’ll continue pushing for reforms to ensure that every person has access to high-quality, affordable mental health care.” 

The annual Mental Health Autumn Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury, CT. Tickets and sponsorships for the events are still available at AB2022Breakfast.givesmart.com.