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Mental Health Advocacy Day

“Our Mental Health in the Time of COVID”

More than 350 people registered to attend our first virtual Mental Health Advocacy Day on Feb. 1st! A special thank you to everyone who spent part of their Monday with us advocating for mental health.

What an inspiring day it was! Organized and planned by NAMI Vermont, Vermont Care Partners, and Vermont Association of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, the event started with supportive, encouraging and welcoming remarks from Representative Peter Welch, Lt. Governor Molly Gray, Secretary of Human Services Mike Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health Sarah Squirrell, Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski, and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint.

Our keynote presentation from Chackupurackai Mathai, “Embracing Our Lived Experience Leadership,” was so inspirational and powerful as he spoke about embracing our lived experience and harnessing it to inform and empower our advocacy. It created an open and honest dialogue with questions from attendees.

The Sharing Stories session after the lunch break included personal experiences from peers, family members and providers on different topics and various stages of their recovery journey. We thank all of you who shared your story with us. We were inspired by the resilience and strength shown.

If you were unable to attend, we recommend you view a video recording of the event.

We would like to thank our 47 co-sponsoring organizations who helped to promote the event and make it such a success:


Alyssum ~ Building Bright Futures ~ Burlington Housing Authority ~ Cathedral Square ~ 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. ~ Green Mountain Support Services ~ Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS) ~ Howard Center ~ Lamoille County Mental Health Services (LCMHS) ~ Lincoln Street ~ Me2/Orchestra ~ NAMI Vermont ~ National Association of Social Workers-VT ~ NFI Vermont, Inc. ~ Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS) ~ Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (NCSS) ~ NVU Graduate Programs in Mental Health, School and Addictions Counseling ~ OneCare Vermont ~ Postpartum Support International – Vermont (PSI VT) ~ Rutland Mental Health Services ~ Support and Services at Home (SASH) ~ Team Two Vermont ~ The University of Vermont Health Network ~ United Counseling Service of Bennington County, Inc. (UCS) ~ Upper Valley Services ~ Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition ~ Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR) ~ Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems ~ 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 Developmental Disabilities Council ~ 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) ~ We R Hope