Frequently Asked Questions

Public Policy/Advocacy

Click on a question below to link to the answer further down the page.

  1. I have questions/concerns about mental health services in my community or complaints about the area’s mental health system. Who can help me?
  2. What is the status of the federal parity legislation?
  3. I have seen/heard something that I believe is discriminating or stigmatizing. How do I respond?
  4. What legislative initiatives are important in my state?
  5. Where can I find legal assistance?
  6. What are NAMI’s public policy/legislative priorities?
  7. I need additional information on the Medicare Drug benefit. How can I get help?
  8. I am working on a research project and need to interview someone from NAMI. Who should I talk to?
  9. I am working on a conference/training session and would like to invite a NAMI staff member or volunteer to present. Who should I talk to?
  10. I want to volunteer my time and effort as an advocate. How do I get involved?
  11. How do mental health services in my state or community compare to other systems across the country?
  12. I have seen/heard a lot about changes to Medicaid. How will these changes affect me?
  13. Is there an ACT (assertive community treatment) team in my area? What other information is available about ACT?

 

  1. I have questions/concerns about mental health services in my community or complaints about the area’s mental health system. Who can help me?

    NAMI is represented by a state organization and numerous affiliates in each state that provide advocacy, support and educational opportunities. Since the majority of mental health services are administered locally, local NAMI volunteers are frequently in a position to provide assistance. Contact your state organization or local affiliate.

  2. What is the status of the federal parity legislation?

    The original federal mental health parity law was extended at the close of 2005. Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are working diligently to make new federal parity legislation a reality. The most recent updates on the federal parity initiative are available by clicking here.

  3. I have seen/heard something that I believe is discriminating or stigmatizing. How do I respond?

    NAMI has a very active Stigmabusters network that address stigmatizing messages across the country. To learn more about Stigmabusters and how to respond to stigma, click here.

  4. What legislative initiatives are important in my state?

    There are numerous initiatives underway in states across the country that would have significant impact on people living with mental illness. NAMI is represented by a state organization and numerous affiliates in each state. State organizations are charged with developing policy priorities and tracking legislation within their respective states. Contact your state organization.

  5. Where can I find legal assistance?

    NAMI does not provide direct legal services. However, we do operate a referral center that provides NAMI members and the general public lists of attorneys interested in mental health issues. You may contact the NAMI Legal Center by email or by calling 703-524-7600.

  6. What are NAMI’s public policy/legislative priorities?

    The board of NAMI routinely reviews and revises our organization’s public policy platform. This document serves as our guiding document for determining the legislation and public policy initiatives that we will pursue.

    Current issues under consideration by Congress or by the administration are communicated to members via NAMI E-News. To receive this publication, visit www.nami.org/subscribe. If you are not a registered user of the NAMI website, a one-time free registration is required.

  7. I need additional information on the Medicare Drug benefit. How can I get help?

    For current information on the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, visit www.mentalhealthpartd.org. NAMI has partnered with other advocacy organizations to provide this information dedicated to the Part D benefit.

  8. I am working on a research project and need to interview someone from NAMI. Who should I talk to?

    NAMI staff and volunteers have experts in many different areas. However, we receive many requests for assistance with research projects and are not always able to meet all requests. Please email us describing your research project and a NAMI staff member will respond with availability and any needed follow up information.

  9. I am working on a conference/training session and would like to invite a NAMI staff member or volunteer to present. Who should I talk to?

    NAMI staff and volunteers have experts in many different areas. However, we receive many requests for assistance with research projects and are not always able to meet all requests. Please email us describing your research project and a NAMI staff member will respond with availability and any needed follow up information.

  10. I want to volunteer my time and effort as an advocate. How do I get involved?

    NAMI is a grassroots organization and most volunteer work occurs in states and communities across the country. To become involved in NAMI, contact your state organization or local affiliate.

    NAMI also relies upon volunteer advocates to contact senators and representatives in Washington, DC. The best way to stay on top of emerging federal issues is by subscribing to NAMI E-News. To receive this publication, visit www.nami.org/subscribe. If you are not a registered user of the NAMI website, a one-time free registration is required.

  11. How do mental health services in my state or community compare to other systems across the country?

    In March 2006, NAMI released Grading the States: A Report on America’s Health Care System for Serious Mental Illness that assessed each state’s public mental health system for adults. To see how your state fared, visit www.nami.org/grades.

  12. I have seen/heard a lot about changes to Medicaid. How will these changes affect me?

    Medicaid is a state/federal partnership. Medicaid programs are required to offer specific services (called mandatory benefits) to a core group of individuals who have mandatory eligibility. Beyond these requirements, many states offer Medicaid benefits to a broader population. Learn more about Medicaid.

  13. Is there an ACT (assertive community treatment) team in my area? What other information is available about ACT?

    To find put please go to the Web site of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors at www.nasmhpd.org and click on the area that has a state by state listing of the state mental health commissioners. Contact the Commissioner’s office in the state you are interested in and ask for the person in charge of assertive community treatment (ACT) teams. If there is no single person in charge of ACT teams, ask for the Director of Adult Mental Health Services.

    Other information on ACT is available at www.nami.org/act.