Nothing is more powerful than your story. It is a testament to your journey. When concise, focused, and tailored to an issue, your words— your personal experience—can affect meaningful change.
NAMI shapes national public policy for people with mental health conditions and their families and provides volunteer leaders with the tools, resources, and skills necessary to advocate for mental health in all states.
At NAMI Shoreline and NAMI Connecticut, we are continuously working to improve public policy for people with mental health challenges in Connecticut. The state’s Public Policy Agenda includes many issues that aim to increase access to services and supports, and to repair and restore the mental health service system in our state.
What You Can Do
Contact your policymakers by phone or email and testify at public hearings using your stories to inform and influence them to support legislation that improves the lives of people with mental illness and their loved ones.
Read news articles, journals, and editorials on mental health issues and the workings of government. Stay up to date on NAMI’s priorities and positions on mental health policies.
Mental health is on every ballot, at every election so it is important to vote in every election, for every office. Ask the candidates questions about their positions on mental health issues, check out their public statements on the issues that matter to you, and arm yourself with the facts about an incumbent’s voting record.
You can tell legislators on the Appropriations (budget writing) committee how crucial core services like mental health services, supports and housing are. We urge you to connect with your local legislators and share your story and concerns. Also, you can do so by submitting written testimony (to APPtestimony@cga.ct.gov) or testifying in person. Personal stories are uniquely powerful to help legislators and the community understand concerns.
NAMI Smarts for Advocacy Training
NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is a hands-on advocacy training program that helps people living with mental health conditions, friends and family transform their passion and lived experience into skillful grassroots advocacy.
NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is designed as a series of three 1-2 hour workshops or modules or as a single full-day training that 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.
Participants routinely share that they’ve never been able to condense their story or made a clear “ask,” but with NAMI Smarts, they are now able to.
Lobbyists who represent NAMI State Organizations or mental health coalitions also love this program—they see participants come out confident and able to share their story in a way that moves policymakers.
Click here to sign up for a NAMI Smarts for Advocacy Training
We’re here to support you. Please let us know if you are planning on testifying in person or submitting testimony. We often request testimonies that address specific issues, such as housing. We can also help to sign you up if you’ll be testifying in person at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford. You will need to send us your testimony at the latest the day before the hearing.
Thomas Burr, Policy and Advocacy for NAMI CT firstname.lastname@example.org