Scroll below for NAMI Washington’s past policy & advocacy activities.
2021 Lobby Week
NAMI Legislative Priorities & NAMI Lobby Week 2021
Advocate with NAMI Washington during our first-ever Virtual Lobby Week, February 15-19, 2021!
NAMI members and supporters are the most effective people to educate legislators about mental illness and the need to change our current "mental illness" system to a "mental health" system. Join us for this opportunity in meeting with your lawmakers, connecting with other advocates, and hearing from keynote speakers.
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2020 Lobby Day
NAMI Lobby Day 2020 Registration is open!
Join NAMI Washington members from across the state for our annual lobby day in Olympia and stay for a reception in the Governor's mansion! Please read through the day's schedule below for more information.
NAMI members and supporters are the most effective people to educate legislators about mental illness and the need to change our current "mental illness" system to a "mental health" system. Our lobby day will include a morning breakfast, an issues update and an advocacy skills training. Afterwards, we will send you off to your legislative appointments at the Capitol Campus. Please bring a sack lunch or lunch options are available for purchase on the Capitol campus.
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2019 Lobby Day
Check out some of the issues below:
1. Protect and Increase Access to Quality Mental Health Services
An ideal state mental health system should be comprehensive, built on solid scientific evidence that is focused on wellness and recovery. It should be inclusive, reaching underserved areas and neglected communities, and fully integrated into the broader health care system. Research has shown that timely treatment produces better outcomes and quicker recovery for individuals with mental illness. Delays in treatment can increase the severity of mental illness and consequently the intensity and cost of the services being provided. Seamless care coordination can prevent suicides, homelessness, loss of job earnings, and incarceration.
2. Decriminalize Behavioral Health Conditions
In a mental health crisis, people are more likely to encounter police than get medical help. As a result, 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. Nearly 15% of men and 30% of women booked into jails have a serious mental health condition. Having a behavioral health condition is not a crime, it should be treated and viewed as what it is – a disease. People living with mental illness, chemical dependency, or both (a co-occurring disorder) do not belong in our criminal justice or corrections system – but in treatment and recovery programs.
3. Prioritize Prevention and Early Intervention
Mental illness affects young people at an alarming rate. One half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75 percent begin by age 24. What’s even more astounding is that even after an onset of symptoms, the average young person does not get treatment until eight to 10 years later. Research shows that early identification and intervention leads to better outcomes, may lessen long-term disability, and reduce costs associated with crisis treatment services, as well as avoiding years of unnecessary suffering. Family members are a central resource in the treatment of children and adults living with serious mental illnesses and should be an integral part of the treatment team and empowered to facilitate mutually agreed upon treatment team goals. Research overwhelmingly shows that when families take an active part in treatment decisions, consumer outcomes are better.
4. Ensure the Financial Stability of a Quality Mental Health Care System
Washington State lacks the revenue to adequately fund its most basic services. This is because we have the most unfair and unstable revenue system in the nation. Lack of revenue combined with the recession has resulted in $12 billion in cuts and chronic underfunding for our important social service safety net programs.
2019 Behavioral Health Champions:
2019 Behavioral Health Champions
NAMI Washington is presenting 11 Washington state legislators with Behavioral Health Champion awards for their work during the 2019 legislative session. The legislators receiving the Behavioral Health Champion award showed an exceptional dedication to improving our state's behavioral health system. The legislature made major strides toward ending the warehousing of people living with mental illness in our jails, improving young people's access to behavioral health services, and addressing workforce shortages.
The recipients of the Behavioral Health Champion award are:
Rep. Eileen Cody (D- 36th District)
Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-27th District)
Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43rd District)
Rep. Joe Schmick (R- 9th District)
Rep. Carolyn Eslick (R- 39th District)
Rep. Noel Frame (D- 36th District)
Rep. Tana Senn (D- 41st District)
Sen. Manka Dhingra (D- 45th District)
Sen. David Frockt (D- 46th District)
Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D- 27th District)
Sen. Steve O'Ban (R- 28th District)
2017 Lobby Day
What did NAMI Day look like in 2017?
2017 Legislative Priorities
Modifying the language of Washington's Patient Privacy Law (HB1477/SB5400)
Children's Mental Health Legislation (HB1713/SB5763, HB1621, HB1377)
Involuntary Treatment Act Standard Change (HB1259)
Dynamic Fiscal Impact (SB5443/HB1960)
Fully Funding a Comprehensive Behavioral Health System in Washington
Check out our work during the 2016 Legislative Session Below
2016 Legislative Priorities
Protect Access to Quality Mental Health Services
Operating Budget and Workforce Stability
Ricky's Law: Involuntary Treatment Integration
Medication Continuity of Care (Switching)
Involuntary Treatment Act Standard
Improve the Quality of Life for People Living with Mental Illness and Decriminalize Mental Illness
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)
Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP)
Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs)
Ensure the Fiscal Sustainability of a Quality Mental Health Care System
2016 Lobby Day
NAMI Day 2016 was a tremendous success with over 145 mental health advocates joining us from around the state.
Our efforts will continue through the entire legislative session, and if you would like to receive our Mental Health Action Alerts email Lauren at Lsimonds@namiwa.org.
If you would like to receive our Mental Health Action Alerts email Lauren at Lsimonds@namiwa.org.