CALL TO ACTION!!! WED. NOV. 16, 2016

ACTION ALERT

Contact your members of Congress on WED., November 16

Background: ADTA is joining with other members of the Mental Health Liaison Group, a coalition of national organizations interested in ensuring all Americans have access to quality mental health services, to push for passage of mental health reform legislation.

Each day next week (Nov. 14 – 18), different organizations will be phoning and emailing their members of Congress to get a bill passed before this Congress ends on December 16. ADTA will be participating on Wednesday, November 16, to weigh in on the importance of getting these bills passed, particularly the importance of having a diverse mental health workforce available to appropriately address needs. We will be joined by a number of national organizations, including the American Psychological Association, National League of Nursing, and the National Association of Social Workers.

How to Participate:

1) Find your members of Congress (not the ones just elected, but the current members)….your Representative and your two Senators. You can find out who these folks are by going to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members and putting in your address or state.

 2) Go to your Representative’s and Senators’ websites (you’ll be linked to those when you search in #1 above) and send an email with the following message:

“Dear Senator (Representative) __________:

My name is ____________, and I am a dance/movement therapist and your constituent from (town/city).

I am writing today to urge you to support bicameral passage of important mental health reform legislation this year.

Mental illness is widely prevalent in the United States. Over 68 million Americans have experienced mental illness in the past year which is more than 20 percent of the total population of the United States. Lifetime rates are much higher with some estimates approaching 50 percent. More striking, in 2014, nearly 43,000 Americans died by suicide. Many individuals with mental illness or substance use conditions are unable to access or receive the appropriate services and supports for these illnesses, and they remain constantly challenged by mental health service delivery systems that are largely fragmented and uncoordinated across the country.

Dance/movement therapists are at the forefront of providing mental health services to populations ranging from adults with Alzheimer’s Disease, veterans and active duty military, and children and young adults with mental health challenges. This legislation is critical to ensuring all Americans have access to qualified mental health providers, including creative arts therapists, who are ready to meet each individual’s specific mental health needs.

Bipartisan mental health reform legislation has been introduced in both chambers. In July, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, by a resounding tally of 422 to 2. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted unanimously to advance S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, in April. Notably, these bipartisan bills strengthen federal coordination of mental health resources, increase reporting on mental health parity, advance integrated service delivery, support the mental health workforce, and increase early access to mental health services.

The need for reform is urgent, and you have the opportunity to act now to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans, their families, and our communities. Please support bicameral passage of important mental health reform legislation this year.

Sincerely,

(Your name and address)”

OR, 3) If you prefer, you can CALL your members’ offices. Those numbers are on their websites, or dial 202-224-3121 to be connected to their offices through the Capitol switchboard. Once your are connected to the office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles mental health issues. You may end up just talking to the receptionist (see note below).

Your message:

“I am __________, a dance/movement therapist and your constituent from (town/city). I’m calling today to urge Senator/Representative ___________ to support bicameral passage of important mental health reform legislation before the end of the year. This legislation is critical to ensuring all Americans have access to qualified mental health providers, including creative arts therapists, who are ready to meet each individual’s specific mental health needs.

Bipartisan mental health reform legislation has already passed the House and is advancing through the Senate. [NOTE: If that ask the name or number of these bills: H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (House bill); and S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (Senate bill)].

The need for reform is urgent! You have the opportunity to act now to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans, their families, and our communities. I urge Representative/Senator ___________ to support passage of this important legislation this year. Thank you.”

NOTE: If you only get to talk to the receptionist, just make sure you ask they support passage of mental health reform legislation this year!

Thanks for advocating for dance/movement therapy and mental health services for all!

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