Why Do We Need Advocacy Around Mental Health?
Mental health is affected by more than just access to behavioral health services. Mental health challenges are often related to other aspects of our lives, such as work, school, or housing. Many of the obstacles we may face impact our mental health are the result of public policy decisions our elected officials have made. Policies at the local, county, state, and federal levels determine how, when, and which communities get the resources they need.
Source: Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA), HRSA Data Warehouse data as of 01/13/19
There is a severe shortage of both facilities and providers of behavioral health services in Illinois. For every 10,000 residents in Illinois, there are only about 14 behavioral health care professionals. Our legislators are the people with the power to do something about it, and it is our job as voters to advocate for change.
Public policy makes a difference in the lives of both the people living with mental health conditions and the people in their lives. Changes in policy can mean better outcomes. NAMI works with policymakers to advance priority issues and ensure that the voices of people affected by mental illness are considered in policymaking.