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NAMI’s Campaign for the Mind of America is a grassroots partnership initiative to increase access to mental health treatment and services by offering solutions to public policy challenges at the federal, state, and local levels. The Campaign highlights solutions while underscoring the unintended economic and personal consequences of policy failures. Nearly one hundred thousand of Louisiana’s adult and children residents are living with a mental illness.

As part of the Campaign, NAMI Louisiana’s grassroots leaders from across the state are organizing to advocate for continued support of open access to medications for people living with mental illness who are served by the state’s Medicaid program.

In 2001, advocates and the Louisiana Legislature felt so strongly that persons with mental illness SHOULD HAVE OPEN ACCESS to atypical antipsychotic medications for the treatment of serious mental illness. A laws as passed that EXEMPTED these medications from the Medicaid Preferred Drug List which limits access to medications.

In 2005, the state Administration wants to REMOVE these exemptions by passing another law that would restrict access and allow prior authorizations, a measure that would impede access to lifesaving and necessary medications for people who need them and remove choice for doctors who prescribe them. The Campaign is supporting NAMI Louisiana in their advocacy effort through media and community efforts

Nationwide, untreated mental illness costs the nation more than $100 billion annually from lost productivity and diverted resources. The Campaign creates unique partnerships among different sectors on the front lines that deal with the crisis including law enforcement, county and city leaders, healthcare professionals, and other community leaders. In tandem with these organizations and leaders, the Campaign will work to underscore the unintended costs and consequences to the community of lack of access to treatment and services for those living with mental illness.

NAMI Louisiana, a NAMI state organization, is a volunteer, non-profit, self-help organization composed of families and friends of persons who have a mental illness and consumers of mental health services. NAMI National, NAMI Louisiana, and the over twelve affiliates in local communities across the state work together to meet the NAMI mission of support, education, advocacy and research to improve the lives of people living with mental illness, their families, and our communities.

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