NAMI Vermont Advocacy Overview

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center and the Center for Health and Learning are glad to call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Vermont (NAMI VT) a partner in our work. Learn more about their programming below.

NAMI Vermont Advocacy

Advocacy Priorities

  1. Build Community Awareness and Eliminate Stigma and Discrimination
  2. Increase mental health funding
  3. Ensure access to effective mental health services for everyone
  4. Provide access to appropriate, affordable housing and transportation
  5. Ensure safe and respectful crisis intervention
  6. Promote appropriate outcomes where the criminal justice system and mental health issues intersect
  7. Promote training and quality standards at facilities staffed by mental health professionals and providers
  8. Promote early diagnosis and intervention strategies
  9. Promote and collaborate on suicide prevention initiatives with other organizations
  10. Ensure the integration and parity of mental health, substance use, and primary care services to promote wellness
  11. Assist people with a mental health condition to achieve and maintain recovery over the course of their lifetimes

Youth and adults living with mental illness or a mental health condition receive the right care at the right time and in the right place to experience lives of resiliency, recovery and inclusion.

The purpose of NAMI Vermont’s Advocacy Priorities is to provide direction and guidance on issues affecting people living with a mental illness or mental health condition to the NAMI Vermont Board, Advocacy Committee, our affiliates, staff, members, and the general public. NAMI Vermont advocates for all people and families who are living with mental illness or a mental health condition in Vermont.

Mental Health Advocacy Day

Every year, advocates join together to raise their voice in support of Mental Health Advocacy Day at the Statehouse. NAMI Vermont encourages any community member to join this event.

The day includes a welcome address and keynote address from state leaders including elected officials, Vermont administrative officials, and experts in the mental health field.

Mental Health Advocacy Training

Advocacy trainings are often planned before Advocacy Day to help stakeholders develop and build advocacy skills to speak with legislators and to learn more about Vermont’s legislative process. Grassroots advocacy is simple; you don’t have to know about policies or politics. It’s about using your voice to influence policy makers and making a difference. Turn your passion and your lived experience into a positive voice for mental health with the NAMI Vermont Legislative Advocacy training.

NAMI Vermont Signature Programs

Support Groups

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group meetings are free, 90-minute recovery support groups for people living with a mental health condition where people learn from one another’s experiences, share coping strategies and offer mutual encouragement and understanding. The groups provide an ongoing opportunity to discuss the challenges of living with a mental health condition and the techniques for maintaining wellness. All meetings are facilitated by trained NAMI peers living in recovery.

The NAMI Family Support Group is a 90-minute support group for families and friends of individuals living with a mental health condition. Family Support Groups empower and educate family members.  All groups are led by trained individuals who have a family member living with a mental health condition.

Educational Courses and Workshops

The NAMI Family-to-Family program is an 8-week course structured to help families and friends of individuals with a mental health condition understand and support their loved ones while maintaining their own well-being. Registered as an evidence-based program with SAMHSA, the course is designed specifically for parents, siblings, spouses, teenage and adult children and significant others of persons with a mental health condition. Many family members describe the impact of this program as “life changing.”

NAMI Homefront is a class for families, partners and friends of military service members and veterans experiencing a mental health challenge. The 6-week course is designed specifically to help family members (and close friends) understand those challenges and improve the ability of participants to support their service member or veteran. This program has a similar format to that of Family-to-Family, but focuses on resources, information, and programming available to veterans, military personnel and their families. 

NAMI Vermont offers the Mental Illness and Recovery workshop for family members, peers and community members who want to learn more about mental health and recovery. This daylong workshop includes basic information about major mental health conditions, an overview of effective treatments, accessing services throughout Vermont, coping strategies, crisis prevention and recovery. This workshop is offered as an alternative to Family-to-Family to accommodate busy schedules and welcomes different roles and perspectives for a wholistic discussion with stakeholders.

The NAMI Provider program is either a 15-hour course, or a 4-hour seminar (the agency’s preference) that presents a penetrating, subjective view of family and peer experiences with a serious mental illness (SMI) to professionals who work directly with individuals affected by a mental health condition. The program helps providers realize the hardships that families and peers face and appreciate the courage and persistence it takes to live with and recover from their mental health condition. Participants generally feel that not only had their approach towards families changed, but that their understanding of peers dealing with life’s dilemmas had expanded as well. 

Educational Presentations

NAMI In Our Own Voice is an educational, recovery-oriented presentation given by trained presenters who are living full and productive lives while personally overcoming the challenges of their mental health condition(s). This program provides practical, useful information about mental health. The presentation takes 60-90 minutes and is intimate and candid. It includes a short video, personal testimony and a Q&A period that allows for honest and open dialogue. Presenters engage audiences with their brave and gripping personal journeys. They touch on the various phases of recovery including “What happened,” “What helps,” and “What’s next.”

NAMI Ending the Silence is an engaging presentation that helps high school & middle school students learn about suicide awareness, the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if they or a loved one are showing symptoms of a mental health condition. Ending the Silence presentations include two leaders: one who shares an informative presentation and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery. Audience members can ask questions and gain understanding of this often-misunderstood topic. Through dialogue and outreach to youth, we can help grow the movement to end stigma.

NAMI FaithNet is a presentation for friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to encourage faith communities to be welcoming and supportive of persons and families living with a mental health condition. NAMI FaithNet strives to encourage caring congregations as well as to promote the vital role of spirituality in the recovery journey of those who live with mental health conditions. Faith can be a key component in one’s wellness and recovery.

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