Be An Advocate!
Becoming an advocate for mental health is a great way to get involved in your community! Jefferson Center has a Policy Action Network (PAN) which establishes and maintains positive relationships with elected officials and other decision makers to promote adequate resources and improve the lives of community members. We provide advocates with up to date information about legislation and issues related to mental health. By working together to be a voice for mental health, we can make a real difference!
YOUR VOICE COUNTS – By working together to be a voice for mental health, we can make a real difference!
- Make a phone call, write a letter or an email to your legislators
- Schedule an informal visit prior to the session
- Volunteer on a political campaign
- Attend your legislators Town Hall meetings
- Speak before a committee
- Ask to be placed on the legislator’s mailing lists
- Speak about mental health issues to your friends/family/neighbors
Get to know your legislators on a personal basis. Legislators are just like you and me. They have family and friends, are members of their community, take vacations, and watch sports. Become acquainted with legislators’ key issues, interests and committee assignments. Learn how they prefer to be contacted (i.e. phone call, letter, e-mail). Reach out to them via email, letter, and phone or visit to introduce yourself. Legislators want to hear from their constituents. Don’t contact public officials only when you want their help…keep in touch with them throughout the year.
Make it Personal
Share personal stories. Family and personal stories are also extremely powerful and are often remembered. Do not use form letters, photo-copied letters, or printed postal cards. Do not send letters to legislators addressed as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Legislator”. Know the name of whom you’re writing and use it. Legislators care about what the people in their district think is important, so make sure to mention that you live in that district if appropriate.
Communicate & Advocate
- Be brief, prepared, clear, honest, accurate, persuasive, timely, persistent and grateful.
- Let the legislator know that you are there to serve as a resource. Be a partner, not an adversary.
- Listen to what your legislator has to say on the issue.
- Be sure to thank the legislator for taking the time to hear your position with a short follow-up.
Your Elected Officials
For other information visit www.vote-smart.org.
To determine who your legislator is, search online here or call your County Clerk’s office and give them your exact home address:
Congress and the US Senate continue to meet throughout the year, so we may be sending out action alerts on mental health policy at the federal level.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Colorado – www.namicolorado.org/
Mental Health America – www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC) – www.cbhc.org
For more information about becoming an advocate for mental health, contact LesaM@jcmh.org.