On Thursday, April 23, just a day before NAMI Wisconsin’s Annual Conference 2015, mental health advocates from all corners of the state will gather at the State Capitol for Action on the Hill, a mental health advocacy day. Faced with so many challenges, we often forget that mental illness also allows us to recognize our capacity for strength, resilience and compassion. Action on the Hill is an opportunity to address our challenges and inform our policymakers what we need to thrive, but also to celebrate our successes, get to know new people and have some fun!
Rain or shine, Action on the Hill will kick off with a mental health rally on the Capitol steps over the lunch hour. Open to the public, the rally will include resource tables, a pledge wall and opportunities to connect with other community members passionate about improving mental health. A wide range of speakers, including family members, people living in recovery, policy-makers and more will discuss why people with lived experience need to participate in legislative advocacy, educate the crowd about NAMI Wisconsin’s legislative priorities and tell their own stories of recovery.
After the rally, Action on the Hill participants will walk over to the Best Western Inn on the Park and congregate for lunch and a series of mini workshops. During these mini workshops, participants will learn about the issues they can discuss with their policymakers and receive tips for successful meetings with legislators.
After these issue briefings and a full lunch, advocates will attend face-to-face meetings with their legislators, explain our priority issues and share their experiences as people affected by mental illness. Lawmakers will gain a better understanding of how each experience is unique and that recovery is possible. Along with gaining first-hand experience with legislative advocacy, participants will lay the foundation for a long-lasting relationship with their policymakers. This will strengthen Wisconsin’s mental health advocacy network and ensure that NAMI Wisconsin members remain the state’s voice on mental illness.
"Action on the Hill will be a powerful day because we will raise awareness, bring new people into the recovery community, educate NAMI Wisconsin members about current issues and allow strong connections between grassroots advocates and legislators to develop,” says Annabelle Potvin, NAMI Wisconsin’s Advocacy Coordinator. “The best part is that anyone can participate, whether or not they have advocacy experience. For many people, this will be their first time meeting their representatives or participating in an advocacy event.”
NAMI Wisconsin knows that our strength as an organization and an advocacy community depends on our grassroots. Only when people show up and speak out can we create a compassionate society that understands recovery and values a strong mental health system.
Do YOU want to join our voice? Join NAMI Wisconsin for Action on the Hill!
Registration for Action on the Hill is FREE if you are also attending the Annual Conference 2015. There is a $10 fee for other attendees, a direct donation to NAMI Wisconsin. If the fee poses a financial hardship, please let us know and we will work with you.
Please pre-register for Action on the Hill when you fill out your conference registration form. For those not attending the conference, please register online here!