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Advocacy important in breaking stigma of mental illness

Submitted by NAMI Winchester

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.

During May, NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.

Each year, we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public.

NAMI Winchester and Clark County Mental Health Task Force work together to advocate locally.

The Clark County Mental Health Task Force is made up of more than 50 community partners. 

Our work brings together local and regional mental health care organizations, including but not limited to Mountain Comprehensive Care, National Youth Advocacy Program, New Vista, National Alliance for Mental Illness, Clark County Health Department, Clark County Public Schools, Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Mental Health America, The Ridge, Peace Hospital and more. 

We work collaboratively to advocate for changes that increase health equity by promoting access to mental health care, reduce the stigma of seeking help and support wellness by ensuring there is awareness of public health resources. 

This year, our advocacy efforts contributed to increased access to mental health care services by telehealth, the passing of a bill in the House to create a state Mental Illness Task Force to improve care for the severely mentally ill and reduced delay in access to care through the lifting of prior authorization requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through funding from The Greater Clark Foundation, we created a local, comprehensive resource guide that is updated annually and available online at http://www.clarkhealthdept.org/images/files/Resource%20Guide.10.31.19.pdf

You have the power to change how decision makers support people with mental health conditions. Your personal story is always right — and it can change the hearts and minds of policymakers.

NAMI’s grassroots advocates have helped pass federal parity laws and mental health reform, expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act and successfully fought back attempts to end patient protections.

Your engagement powers our impact with policymakers. Join us and make a difference.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. 

NAMI Winchester has support meetings for family members and peers at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month. To keep members and the community safe, meetings are currently held via teleconference.

For complete information on meetings, call 859-749-3702, and leave a message.

For more information, visit  www.mhanational.org. For local resources, visit www.winclarkresources.org.