2018 NAMI Local Advocacy Highlights

NAMI California is proud to support its local county affiliates by awarding local funding to raise awareness on mental health issues, reduce stigma, and to get communities more involved developing mental health related public policy.

Advocacy Calendars

  • NAMI Affiliates developed local advocacy calendars to create opportunities for family members to advocate with policy makers, legislators, as well as health department leaders and staff. Stakeholder opportunities include city council meetings, health board meetings, and Board of Supervisor meetings. Calendars are distributed to local community members to keep families, peers, and partners involved. To help stakeholders become more involved, NAMI affiliates developed a total of 10 local advocacy calendars in 2018.

  • Click here to see NAMI San Fernando Valley’s local advocacy calendar!

Local Service Guides

  • NAMI affiliates used advocacy funding to develop local service guides that assist mental health consumers, their loved ones, their families, and caregivers in locating various resources and support organizations. These guides include information about mental health services as well as health care, support groups, legal advocacy, consumer empowerment services information and much more. These guides serve as both a resource for personal use or for use in referral services. NAMI affiliates developed a total of 6 local service guides in 2018.

  • Click here for NAMI Glendale’s service guide!

Hosting Local Advocacy Activities

  • NAMI Affiliates organized local advocacy activities to provide stakeholders the opportunity to share their personal stories of lived experience to public officials in order to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and inform policy makers on mental health issues. NAMI affiliates hosted or participated in a total of 8 community collaboration meetings in 2018!

  • On May 16th, NAMI El Dorado hosted a Stepping Up Event at Lake Tahoe Community College. Chief Probation Officer, Brian Richart, spoke at the event along with other Stepping Up Initiative members. The event was a day of action to provide the opportunity for the community to come together to learn about the county’s efforts to connect people to treatment and services instead of jails. The planning committee for this event included: county departments -- Probation, Jail Correction, Sheriff, Police, DA, Public Defender, and Health and Human Services; Judge Kingsbury; Barton Health Board Trustee; and Behavioral Health Commission Chair.

Hosting Community Collaboration Meetings

  • NAMI affiliates fostered new community collaboration meetings that bring together different professional sectors to inform and train behavior health department staff, policy makers, and NAMI members to better serve communities. The goal of these meetings is to create relationships at the local level and improve the understanding of both the needs of families as well as the workings of county programs. In 2018, NAMI affiliates hosted and participated a total of 8 community collaboration meetings.

  • On August 14th, NAMI Merced hosted an event with Cultiva La Salud, ACLU Northern California, Valley Watch Network, Sierra Vista Child and Family Services, and the Merced County Department of Behavioral Health. The event focused on mental health wellness, the impact of trauma and the importance of developing resiliency, and included a presentation on the Latino Cultural Wealth Model (based on presentation at NAMI Multicultural Conference), and information on NAMI programs that are available in Spanish.

Hosting Community Outreach and Mental Health Awareness Events

  • Affiliates engage in local community event planning, such as participating in health fairs and fundraising walks, with the goal of promoting a positive message about mental health to the general public. In pursuit of this goal, NAMI Affiliates hosted and participated in 5 community outreach events focused on mental health awareness.

  • On May 21st, NAMI Marin hosted an event on the impact of sleep on mental health with approximately 100 people in attendance. The event was a collaborative effort with UC Berkeley and included a speech by Caitlin Eggleston Gasperetti – a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she conducts research on the relationship between sleep and emotion. She also works as a therapist delivering sleep interventions to adolescents and adults in the community. Topics included: how and why we sleep; how we can improve our sleep; and how researchers understand the connection between sleep and mental illness.

Engaging with Local Decision-Makers

  • Affiliates recruit family members and schedule individuals meetings to speak with government officials at the city and county level on mental health policy issues. The goal was to set meetings with city council members, mental health director, or other related local government officials. In total, NAMI affiliates engaged with 10 different local decision-makers across the state.

  • NAMI Santa Barbara successfully advocated with local decision makers to create a full-time CIT coordinator position. They scheduled meetings with each of four county supervisors prior to the county’s budget workshops, and lined up participants for the workshops. They also drew in participation from educated representatives of other community organizations (Families Act, League of Women Voters, Equity for Santa Barbara), and family members to give testimony at the county’s budget workshops (April 16-20) in support of the CIT Coordinator’s position.

Hosting Local Advocacy Activities with a Focus on Diverse Communities

  • Plan and host events that include diverse voices into advocacy efforts; these events involve sharing lived experiences and engaging with local officials. NAMI affiliates were able to plan and host 5 local advocacy events focused on diverse communities in 2018.

  • In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, NAMI Sacramento held a Pride Month Panel Presentation event. NAMI Sacramento partnered with the Sacramento LGBT Center and Mental Health America of Northern California (NorCalMHA) to host this event. Panelists included individuals from the NAMI Sacramento Board of Directors, NAMI Sacramento Program Managers and Coordinators, and a Program Coordinator from the Sacramento LGBT Center, all of whom identify as LGBTQ+. Attendees left the event with more knowledge about NAMI Sacramento, including the programs and resources it offers. Caitlin Shea, NAMI-CA Advocacy Manager, gave a brief presentation on advocacy opportunities at the state. Attendees were appreciative that the intersection of mental health and LGBTQ+ identities was discussed in public to reduce stigma and discrimination.