San Fernando Valley Regional Advocacy Meeting

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On Monday, October 29th 2018, 51 NAMI members throughout Los Angeles County from 10 affiliates gathered for the San Fernando Valley Regional Advocacy Meeting.

NAMI California, in collaboration with NAMI San Fernando Valley and NAMI Los Angeles County Council, coordinated the San Fernando Valley Regional Advocacy Meeting to provide members the opportunity to discuss priority issues in Los Angeles County. Regional Advocacy Meetings are designed to bring together members of the public, family members, community-based organizations, program leaders, and local NAMI affiliates to discuss priority issues. A big part of these meetings is working with Department of Mental Health staff to discuss the public planning and share ways members engage with that process.

 From left to right: Deanna Robinson - Moderator, Brittney Weissman - Moderator, Dennis Murata - Service Area 8, Theion Perkins - Service Area 1, Lisa Wong - Service Area 3, La Tina Jackson - Service Area 2, Jacquelyn Wilcoxen - Service Area 5.

From left to right: Deanna Robinson - Moderator, Brittney Weissman - Moderator, Dennis Murata - Service Area 8, Theion Perkins - Service Area 1, Lisa Wong - Service Area 3, La Tina Jackson - Service Area 2, Jacquelyn Wilcoxen - Service Area 5.

Working in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, NAMI California invited all the Service Area Chiefs to a panel discussion with NAMI members. The Service Area Chiefs who participated in the panel discussion were:

Theion Perkins - Service Area 1

La Tina Jackson - Service Area 2

Lisa Wong - Service Area 3

Jacquelyn Wilcoxen - Service Area 5

Dennis Murata - Service Area 8

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Service Area Map

After a passionate and engaging panel discussion with the Service Area Chiefs, NAMI members took part in the NAMI Smarts training hosted by Deanna Robinson, NAMI San Fernando Valley Executive Director, and Jean Harris, NAMI Antelope Valley.

NAMI Smarts is a training developed to train NAMI members on how to engage policy makers in our priority issues. NAMI Smarts modules teach members how share their story with legislators, give an elevator speech, write letters of support/opposition, and other avenues of advocacy.

After having an opportunity to learn advocacy skills, members had a chance to break into groups and discuss local priority issues to move forward with in Los Angeles County. Our members discussed various needs in their communities ranging from the housing crisis to criminal justice reform.

This meeting will be the first in a series of advocacy discussions in Los Angeles. Thank you to Deanna Robinson, Susan Levi, and Brittney Weissman for their coordination of this successful event.

2018 Fall Capitol Advocacy Day

As the alarm rang at 5:00AM on a Monday morning, Claudia Haas woke up to get ready for the day ahead. As a member of NAMI San Francisco, Claudia knew how important it was to be a voice and advocate on behalf of individuals suffering from mental illness. She took the three hour Amtrak bus from San Francisco to Sacramento to attend NAMI California‚Äôs 2018 Fall Capitol Advocacy Day. 

On September 24th, 2018, more than 45 NAMI California members met at the capitol to talk to legislative staff about NAMI priorities. Members traveled from more than 20 counties to discuss the importance of supporting access to mental health; ending the criminalization of mental illness; providing access to mental health services for K-12 & Young Adults; and investing in crisis services.

Attendees were passionate and excited to talk to staffers about mental health and to share their experiences. Attendees shared stories about supporting a family member living with mental illness, working with the mental health community, and living themselves with mental illness.

The timing of the advocacy day, after the end of the legislative session, meant that advocates were able to engage more deeply with legislative staffers. Many participants shared the fruitful results of 30 and 45 minute meetings at our afternoon debrief.

Thank you to all the advocates who joined us for a successful day. We look forward to connecting in support of advancing mental health goals in the upcoming year.


 NAMI CA Vice President of Operations welcomes attendees to the 2018 Fall Capitol Advocacy Day

NAMI CA Vice President of Operations welcomes attendees to the 2018 Fall Capitol Advocacy Day

 NAMI CA Staff

NAMI CA Staff

 A few NAMI CA members ready for their next legislative visit!

A few NAMI CA members ready for their next legislative visit!