The need for new and improved policies to help improve the lives of those impacted by mental health conditions has never been greater. Here are steps you can take to be a mental health advocate.
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Learn Why We Need Better Mental Health Policies
Know the facts and help spread the word.
We need new and improved policies to help individuals, families and our communities.
NAMI Petitions: Support National Policies Endorsed by NAMI National
Take Action: Tell Congress to Support Mental Health Research. Imagine if cancer, heart disease or diabetes was diagnosed just by using a short list of questions to assess symptoms. Due to the complexity of the brain and lack of strong research, this is how people are currently diagnosed with mental health conditions. This results in many mistakes in diagnosis and ineffective treatment. Sign NAMI’s petition.
Take Action: Support the Reentry Act. The Reentry Act is bipartisan-supported legislation that would provide Medicaid coverage for health care, including substance use and mental health treatment, for people who are incarcerated starting 30 days before their release. That means people would better be able to connect to and access community mental health services. Sign NAMI’s petition here.
Take Acton: Improve Crisis Response. It has been one year since the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched to provide help to people in a mental health, substance use, or suicide crisis. 988 is already saving lives and making an impact in our communities, but there’s more work to be done. Recently, Congress reintroduced legislation that will continue to expand 988 services to help people get the crisis care they need. Sign NAMI’s petition here.
Local Actions: Support Local Legislation and Follow Actions By Your Local Leaders
Take Action: Help Those Who Cannot Care for Themselves. Thanks to the efforts of our advocates, SB 326 and AB 531 are heading to the Governor’s desk for signature in the coming weeks. NAMI California and Senator Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) are looking for volunteers to share their stories about how this behavioral health package intended to modernize the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) would help you or a loved one experiencing mental illness. These stories would be amplified through social media and in the press to underscore the importance of this crucial legislation.
SB 326 (Eggman) is part of the MHSA modernization proposal and will restructure the MHSA to provide more effective services for individuals living with severe mental illness. NAMI California’s voice was heard and our feedback was largely incorporated in the amended bill language. With these amendments, we are proud of our support of SB 326. AB 531 (Irwin) will create the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2024, and authorize, subject to voter approval, the issuance of $6.38 billion in general obligation to be issued for funding community-based treatment and residential care settings, as well as permanent supportive housing. The Act will expand access to high quality care for those with the greatest needs. NAMI California strongly supports AB 531 and recent amendments made to the bill to include funding from the bond for acute and subacute facilities as well as voluntary community-based care. If you are willing to share your story for this campaign about how the passage of these bills will positively impact you or a loved one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to participate via video, we can work with you to arrange a short interview. All stories can be kept anonymous, if requested.
Sign up for email updates from your local representatives, and follow them on social media to stay updated on their policy decisions and priorities—and let them know what’s important to you! Find your Congressional representative here; find your California State Senator here and find your Los Angeles representative.
Learn to Be An Advocate
NAMI California’s Advocacy Toolkit includes guidance on how to be mental health advocate.
Vote and Help Get Out the Vote
Every election provides us with an opportunity to vote for leaders and laws to improve mental health services for individuals, families and communities. Commit to registering to vote in each election, make a voting plan, and encourage your friends, family and co-workers to vote as well!
Stay Informed About Our Work