First Ever Mental Health Advocacy Day is a Hit

On April 23, over 100 community members from across the state gathered on the capitol steps to rally for mental health. Joined by several state legislators, the crowd listened and cheered as speakers shared their stories of recovery and called for greater investment in mental health services, reduced stigma and discrimination and more community conversations about mental health. We are so grateful to our amazing speakers: Linda Preysz, Sue Pekovsek, Andrew Archer, Annette Leach, Taylor Iwaszko, Peter Hoeffel, Jeanette Arellano and Maria Hanson.

Fired up after the rally, 55 advocates from across the state then gathered for a briefing on current legislative issues and a training to prep them for afternoon visits with elected officials. Some had met or talked with legislators before, others had never set foot in the capitol building. But everyone was ready to let our legislators know what we need to support recovery. By the end of the sunny April day, our group of advocates had reached 25 legislative offices.

One attendee commented: “I can’t believe how easy it was to sit down with my senator. He’s just a regular person. I’m excited to reach out to his office more often when things come up.” Many attendees echoed this feedback, noting that they planned to develop relationships with their legislators. NAMI Wisconsin has already received calls from several legislators requesting more information and offering to work with us. Overall, Action on the Hill was a huge success and a tradition we hope to continue in years to come.

Thank you so much to all who participated!