Letter from the Executive Director – December 1, 2020
Hello Wonderful NAMI Virginia Friends and Family!
In all of my years of experience in the mental health community, I have never known, or worked with, a better group of people than the members, staff, and friends of NAMI Virginia. Whether it be programs, advocacy, NAMI Walks, or volunteering, NAMI members are enthusiastic and eager to help. You are all a blessing!
Recently, NAMI Virginia held the 2021 Legislative Advocacy Kickoff. DBHDS Commissioner Alison Land was the key note speaker. Thank you Commissioner Land! NAMI Virginia discussed 2021 mental health legislative priorities and closed the day out with a NAMI Smarts Advocacy training. NAMI Virginia’s advocacy priorities are based on mental health needs in Virginia and recent survey results from NAMI Virginia members. These priorities include: Discharge Planning, Permanent Supportive Housing, Telehealth and Broadband, Workforce Development, STEP-VA and in and out patient counseling and crisis stabilization programs.
An excellent request that arose at the 2021 Legislative Advocacy kickoff was, how do advocates access the Virginia General Assembly site to get information on bill language and the status of bills? In answer to this question:
- Go to virginiageneralassembly.gov
- On the right side of the webpage, you will see a box entitled, “Search Legislation with LIS.”
- If you know the bill number, key the bill number in the box that says, “Enter a Bill Number” then click “Go.” Make sure to key HB in front of the bill number for house bills or SB for senate bills.
- If you do not know the bill number, click “Bills and Resolutions” in the box that says “Session Tracking” and click “Go.” This will lead you to a screen to look at “all introduced” legislation, “passed” legislation, legislation “sent to conference,” etc. Click on your category of interest.
- Voila! There you have the basics! Go onto the website and look around to determine which areas will be the most useful in your work.
As always, take care of you: practice self-care. And keep an eye on your inbox for NAMI Virginia newsletters and Advocacy Action Alerts!
Together we make a difference!
Kathy Harkey, MAPP, BSP, BSMDS