By Bob Carolla
NAMI has taken to the airwaves to get Congress to pass comprehensive mental health legislation.
As of Oct. 24, NAMI’s policy team will have completed a “radio tour” in which approximately 20 interviews to news programs and talk shows were
heard on 8,600 networks or stations and heard by 17 million listeners. Work with the news media will continue in weeks ahead.
One interview on Sirius XM Radio aired. Fifty-five stations in Michigan carried another statewide. In some cases, broadcasts targeted districts of key leaders in Congress, such as Harrisburg, Phoenix, Richmond, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
“It was immensely satisfying to have NAMI reach millions of people and have the news media be engaged on this important issue,” said NAMI associate policy director Angela Kimball, who participated in the tour—which involved radio personalities and reporters calling into NAMI’s national office at scheduled times.
“It was encouraging to see diverse audiences from NPR stations and drive-time talk shows speaking out about mental health,” Kimball said.
Other spokes persons participating in the tour were Ron Honberg, Director of Policy and Legal Affairs and Andrew Sperling, NAMI’s Director of Federal Affairs.
Some interviews were framed in the context of the recent Oregon tragedy in which nine people were killed and touched on issues of violence and gun control.
NAMI pointed out that the vast majority of people living with mental illness are not violent. In fact, people who live with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence. Regardless of a person’s views on violence or gun control, mental health reform is urgently needed for its own sake—and more specifically, for the sake of those affected by mental illnesses and their families
In a recent blog in the Huffington Post, NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti
summarized the full range of actions taken during Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10) to persuade Congress to act and called for grassroots advocates to redouble their efforts in speaking out.
Send a message to your Senators and Representative and let them know that their support for mental health reform is needed—now!
1. News radio Keel
2. KGO radio
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