Over the next few weeks, NAMI members will be receiving in the mail their copies of The Advocate, NAMI’s flagship print publication. There will be a compelling collection of articles in the issue, including interviews with actress Jodie Foster and author Mark Vonnegut as well as other features on genetics and mental illness and African American mental health.
The issue will list many of NAMI’s priorities for 2011. One of them is the fight to protect and strengthen state mental health services despite ongoing state budget cuts, which I discussed in my last entry. But there are also other priorities. Some of these include:
- Ensuring successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also know as the new health care reform law, which includes Medicaid expansion;.
- Celebrating of the 20th anniversary of NAMI’s Family-to-Family education program, including expansion of its partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Demanding early identification and effective treatment of mental illnesses in children and adolescents;
- Continuing NAMI’s leadership in criminal justice reforms, especially through our Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Technical Assistance Center for police, advocates and communities;
- Strengthening the role of NAMI’s Consumer Council;
- Continuing to develop cultural competency both in NAMI and throughout the mental health care system;
- Providing technical assistance to NAMI’s 1,100 state and local affiliates to achieve “standards of excellence” that will strengthen grassroots activities; and
- Increasing technological capacity for information and communications, including social media, and continuing to build our StrengthofUs web community for youth, ages 18-24.
As President Obama declared this past week in his State of the Union address, there is much work to be done “to win the future.” Working together, we can make a difference.