Advocacy

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Your Voice Matters

By using our stories and using our voices, we can make a change for mental health in Vermont. NAMI Vermont’s advocacy efforts help to promote recovery and build better lives for individuals and families affected by mental illness. 

Advocacy Day

Advocacy Priorities

Advocacy Resources

Advocacy Training

Mental Health Advocacy Day

Raise Your Voices Together for Mental Health

Every year, advocates join together to raise their voices in support of mental health. The morning is filled with welcome addresses from state leaders, a keynote plenary session and special awards. The afternoon features opportunities for people to share their stories of hope and recovery. There are also opportunities to provide testimony at key legislative committees. 

Who should attend?

All mental health advocates, peers, family members, professionals, providers, community members and mental health stakeholders are invited to attend. 

Our next Advocacy Day will be held January 30, 2023.

Information will be available soon about how to register to provide testimony and how to register to share your story.

Organized By: NAMI Vermont, Vermont Care Partners, and Vermont Association of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery.

  • Alyssum
  • Another Way
  • BAART Programs
  • Building Bright Futures
  • Center for Health and Learning
  • Central Vermont Perinatal Mental Health Coalition
  • Champlain Community Services
  • Clara Martin Center (CMC)
  • Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC)
  • Disability Rights Vermont
  • Families First Inc.
  • Good Beginnings of Central Vermont
  • Green Mountain Support Services
  • Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS)
  • Howard Center
  • Lamoille County Mental Health Services (LCMHS)
  • Lincoln Street
  • Me2/Orchestra
  • Montpelier Police Department
  • NAMI Vermont
  • National Association of Social Workers-VT
  • NFI Vermont, Inc.
  • Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS)
  • Northern Counties Health Care
  • Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (NCSS)
  • NVU Graduate Programs in Mental Health, School and Addictions Counseling
  • OneCare Vermont
  • Parker Advisors, LLC
  • Postpartum Support International – Vermont (PSI VT)
  • Rutland Mental Health Services
  • Team Two Vermont
  • The University of Vermont Health Network
  • United Counseling Service of Bennington County, Inc. (UCS)
  • Upper Valley Services
  • Vermont Addiction Professionals Association (VAPA)
  • Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition
  • Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR)
  • Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS)
  • Vermont Care Partners (Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services)
  • Vermont Center for Independent Living
  • Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement and Innovation
  • Vermont Department of Mental Health
  • Vermont Family Network
  • Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
  • Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association
  • Vermont Psychiatric Survivors
  • Vermont Psychological Association
  • Vermont Recovery Network
  • Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc. (WCMHS) .

NAMI Vermont Advocacy Priorities

Speak Up, Be Heard

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. We are a non-partisan organization that 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. Our advocates have lived experience. 

We advocate in many ways:

  • We maintain a strong presence at the Vermont Legislature, 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.

We recognize that each individual experiences mental illness and recovery differently. We support treatment and supportive services that address each need. Private or community services, medication, peer support, housing, education, employment and other supports can call contribute to recovery. NAMI Vermont advocates to ensure that people who are not experiencing recovery, but may cope with hardships such as homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration, receive every support possible to put them on the path to recovery.

Advocacy Goal

Our goal is that youth and adults living with mental illness or a mental health condition receive the right care at the right time and in the right place to experience lives of resiliency, recovery and inclusion.

NAMI Vermont Advocacy Priorities 2022

  • Build community awareness and eliminate stigma and discrimination.
  • Increase mental health funding.
  • Ensure access to effective mental health services.
  • Provide access to appropriate, affordable housing and transportation.
  • Ensure safe and respectful crisis intervention.
  • Promote appropriate outcomes where the criminal justice system and mental health issues intersect.
  • Promote training and quality standards at facilities staffed by mental health professionals and providers.
  • Promote early diagnosis and intervention strategies.
  • Promote and collaborate on suicide prevention initiatives with other organizations.
  • Ensure the integration and parity of mental health, substance use, and primary care services to promote wellness.
  • Assist people with a mental health condition achieve and maintain recovery over the course of their lifetime.

To view the NAMI Vermont Expanded Advocacy Priorities, CLICK HERE.

(Advocacy priorities are reviewed and updated on an annual basis by the Advocacy Committee with approval from the Board of Directors. The 2022 priorities were approved 9/11/2021.)

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Become an Advocate

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 that stigma discourages individuals from getting help and remains a key barrier to winning public support to improve 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. There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work Together for Mental Health!

We encourage providers, government agencies, and legislative representatives to listen to the voices of family members and peers when considering funding decisions related to programs/services that support peers and families living with mental illness or a mental health condition in Vermont.

For more information on our advocacy efforts, contact us at (802) 876-7949 x101 or email [email protected].

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Legislative Advocacy Training

Help Make a Positive Change in Mental Health Services

Grassroots advocacy is simple. You don’t have to know about policies or politics. It’s about using your voice and sharing your story to influence policy makers and make a difference. Turn your passion and lived experience into a positive voice for mental health. 

NAMI Smarts is a hands-on advocacy training to help you find your voice and build a connection. This training is a series of workshops/modules to help develop the following skills:

  • Telling a compelling story that is inspiring and makes an “ask” in 90 seconds
  • Writing an effective email, making an elevator speech and making an impactful phone call
  • Orchestrating a successful meeting with an elected official

The unique step-by-step, skill-building design of NAMI Smarts is effective with a wide range of participants, including those who are new to advocacy as well as individuals with years of experience. 

The next NAMI Smarts trainings will take place on December 3, 2022, and January 14, 2023. Please click the buttons below to register separately for each module of the training.

Module 1
(Telling Your Story)
Saturday, December 3, 2022
1–4:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

Modules 2 & 3
(Contacting and Meeting Your Policymaker)
Saturday, January 14, 2023
1–4:30 p.m.
Via Zoom


Resources

Be Heard, Get Involved

Being an advocate for mental health can make a difference in your community and in the state. Policy change is a major way to make a difference in the lives of individuals affected by mental illness and their families. It just takes three steps.

Be Aware

Know your state legislators and how to contact them. This is the first step to being an advocate for mental health.

Be Present

Attend local community events such as town halls. Be available to serve. 

Be Connected

Stay connected with legislators and proposed legislation. Learn how to share your story effectively.

If you are interested in learning more about advocacy work, please contact us at (802) 876-7949 x101 or email [email protected].


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