It’s February and if you are like me, you begin to wonder if winter will ever end. But deep down, we know that spring will come and we have hope.
I think of this as an analogy for our mental health system. When I travel to state conferences—I just returned from NAMI Arizona’s convention—and listen to our members and callers to the HelpLine, I begin to wonder if the mental health crisis will ever end. One of the keynote speakers in Arizona broke my heart with a story of her college-age son’s death by suicide after a struggle with mental illness.
Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be a time when people will not desperately seek care, be subject to abuse and stigma, and left to struggle and even die due to their mental illnesses.
At the same time, I talk to members in recovery and see people with mental illness thriving, like one of our young affiliate leaders in northern Arizona, and I have hope. I believe that together we can make a difference and changes in public policy can improve access to needed care and treatment.
Leadership from the federal government is essential in addressing the overwhelming needs and making needed change. So I want to share with you a brief list of NAMI’s strategic priorities at the federal level. These items represent an ambitious agenda that we’ll be pursuing as 2015 continues to unfold.
Some of these issues may sound abstract or complex, but they are issues that greatly affect the lives of real people. No one person can take them on alone. That’s one of the reasons why NAMI is here and why we are working to build a broader movement for the future.
If you are interested in helping to advance this agenda, please sign up to receive our Legislative Alerts and Advocacy Updates. Your voice makes a difference and I am very grateful to each and every one of you who has ever sent a letter, drafted an email, or made a call or visit to an elected official at any level of government for NAMI. Thank you so much!
As always, I’m interested in hearing your own thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t reply to every message, but please be assured that I read every one. Thank you for your support as we look forward to spring. Together we can bring help and hope.
We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.
Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.
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