ACMH believes that what is most important is that families have the opportunity for their voice to be heard whether it is regarding treatment for their child, or as an advocate to improve mental health services, systems or policies.
Current Opportunities for Advocacy:
In our current climate there is much opportunity and need for family advocacy. Proposals for Medicaid state block grants and the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act are two examples of Congressional initiatives that may affect children and youth with behavioral health challenges and their families. So listed below are some links if you are interested in sharing your voice at the federal level.
The first is the 2017 Health Staffer Directory: Health-LA-Congressional-Directory-115th-2017 or download the Excel spreadsheet: Health-LA-Congressional-Directory-115th-2017 This spreadsheet includes the chief staffer for every member of the 115th Congress.
Click here for a link to all members of the 115th Congress and a profile of each. It is important to note that when you open the link you will want to scroll down the left side of the page and click on 115. This will give you present members. Please note that on this page you have the option to sign up for alerts for Congressional members. This is a great way to stay informed about the activities of your representatives and to track the activities of Congressional members outside of your district who are sponsoring legislation that impacts children’s behavioral health.
Click here for a link for state legislators. Through this link you can find state legislators and pull up the legislative activity that is occurring in our state.
Why ACMH Believes Your voice is So Important:
Family Voices are key when talking about issues surrounding children’s mental health or when trying to improve systems because:
- Children live in families, so only family members truly know if a service or support is effective and whether or not it will work in their home.
- Families have navigated systems so they can share whether procedures or policies were helpful or difficult to navigate.
- Families put a face on the issue.
- Policy makers and others need to know that issues surrounding children’s mental health affect real people in their community.
- Professionals and policymakers are not experts on all subjects and need to hear from youth and families in order to create real systems change.
- Parents need to hear the voices of other families so they can learn from other’s experience, have hope, & know they are not alone!
ACMH works to create opportunities for the voices of families to be heard, as well as, provides information, resources and leadership opportunities for parents and youth so they feel comfortable and confident when advocating for themselves, their family, or to improve services and supports for all families.
If you are interested in getting involved in ACMH advocacy activities, learning leadership skills or having opportunities to share your experience, please explore the opportunities in this section of our website or contact us today!