NAMI Vermont Board Approves FY2017 Advocacy Priorities

By Laurie Emerson  |  October 18, 2016  |  Featured News

The purpose of the Advocacy Priority Platform of NAMI Vermont is to provide direction and guidance on issues affecting people living with a mental illness to the NAMI Vermont Board, Advocacy Committee, our affiliates, staff, members, and to inform the general public.

The Advocacy Priority Platform articulates where NAMI Vermont stands on all issues related to its goal of helping individuals and families affected by mental illness build better lives.

  • Increase mental health funding
  • Ensure access to effective mental health services for everyone
  • Ensure safe and respectful crisis intervention
  • End the inappropriate incarceration of people with mental illness
  • Provide training for mental health professionals and providers
  • Provide appropriate, affordable housing for people with mental illness
  • Promote early diagnosis and intervention strategies, including suicide prevention initiatives
  • Promote wellness and the integration of mental health, substance use and primary care services
  • Help people with mental illness to support themselves through meaningful work

CLICK HERE to view NAMI Vermont’s expanded FY2017 Advocacy Priorities. 

NAMI Vermont strongly embraces the principles of recovery and believes that all mental health and related services and supports should be provided with the goal of helping individuals achieve recovery and resiliency in their lives.

NAMI Vermont’s advocacy efforts help to promote recovery and build better lives for individuals and families affected by mental illness. We advocate on many different levels which include some of the following:

  • We maintain a strong presence at the Vermont Legislature by advocating and supporting issues and policies that relate to our priorities and are important to individuals with mental illness and their families.
  • We are active on work groups and committees that address issues related to mental illness.
  • We fight stigma and discrimination by sharing information and educating individuals, families, professionals, leaders, the media, and the public about mental illness.
  • We empower individuals and families to advocate for themselves through our educational opportunities and resources that we provide.
  • We provide training for individuals to advance our mission.
  • We build partnerships with the community.
  • As a grassroots organization, we seek advocates who have lived experience.

NAMI Vermont supports, to the fullest extent possible, solidarity with other mental health advocacy communities to effect positive changes in societal attitudes, legislation, education, and community and organizational responsiveness.

Each individual experiences mental illness and recovery differently, and NAMI Vermont supports treatment and supportive services that address each individual’s needs. Many individuals living with mental illness experience recovery that may include: private or community services, medication, peer support, housing, education, employment and other supports. NAMI Vermont advocates to ensure that people who are not experiencing recovery, but instead cope with hardships such as homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration, receive every support possible to put them on the path to recovery.

We believe that stigma about mental illness will only be eradicated through consistent, effective outreach and improved public awareness that spotlights individual successes and positive outcomes. We understand stigma about mental illness discourages individuals from getting help, and remains a key barrier to winning public support for improving our mental health system of care. We believe advocacy for a better system of mental health care is more effective when individuals living with mental illness, family members and providers work together. Divided, we will surely fail. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

NAMI Vermont advocates to influence providers, government and legislative representatives of the importance of the voice of family members and peers as they make funding decisions regarding programs and services supporting individuals and families living with mental illnesses.

The Advocacy Committee reviews and updates the priorities on an annual basis and are approved by the NAMI Vermont Board of Directors.

For more information on our FY2017 advocacy efforts contact Laurie Emerson at  (802) 876-7949 x101 or email

NAMI Vermont is the independent Vermont chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a statewide non-profit, grassroots, volunteer organization comprised of family members, friends, and individuals affected by mental illness. As our mission, NAMI Vermont supports, educates and advocates so that all communities, families, and individuals affected by mental illness or mental health challenges can build better lives.

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