The Stepping Up Initiative
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The Stepping Up Initiative is a national effort to divert people with mental illness from jails and into treatment. The campaign brings together a powerful coalition of national organizations, including NAMI, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Foundation and numerous law enforcement associations, mental health organizations, and substance abuse organizations.
The initiative will challenge counties and local communities to work together to find solutions that work for the local community. The campaign will also support local leaders by providing examples of effective reforms and connecting them with other communities that are successfully reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails.
If you are a NAMI leader, here are resources you can use to talk to your elected officials.
Many of the people on the frontlines of this issue—from those living with mental illnesses to those working in the criminal justice and behavioral health systems—have experienced struggles and successes that highlight the impact of the problem and the complexities of addressing it.
Stepping Up Initiative developed a series called “31 Days, 31 Stories,” in which a new profile will be published each day during Mental Health Month in May. Highlighted below are the stories that NAMI helped contribute.