Become an Advocate!
The problems related to mental health issues and alcohol and other drugs may seem overwhelming but together and individually we can make a difference. Every effort, even the smallest, will raise awareness, increase the focus, help reduce the stigma, and change Maine for the better.
How can you help?
Start by telling your story:
- Talk about recovery and how you achieved it. Or share the story of a family member and the struggles they face daily.
- Describe the situation in your community and the kinds of barriers that prevent many people from getting treatment.
- Talk about your path and how your life has changed. Your community needs to see first hand that treatment works.
- Talk about your job in this field and the importance of the work that you do. Talk about the impacts of your work in improving someone’s life, healing their family, and improving the whole community.
- Become involved! Being visible in your community has an effect on how people think about the impact of behavioral health.
- Expand your audience as you become comfortable speaking. Speak publicly or privately with your city council, your state government, legislators and other officials.
- Help to organize awareness and educational events on the local and/or state level.
Become an advocate here in Maine:
- Current Alliance legislative advocacy efforts in Maine – Click here.
- Take a look at the Advocacy Tool Kit, a guide for individuals, coalitions and stakeholders to effectively advance education and advocacy efforts for the continuum of behavioral health services. Click this link to download the Advocacy Tool Kit
- Learn about behavioral health related issues and laws in Maine and in the nation so that you are an informed advocate. Click here for specific information about our current efforts.
- Write letters to your local newspaper responding to issues like service reductions, access to treatment and recovery issues, quality of care issues.
- Write letters or emails to your elected officials in Maine and in Washington, DC.
- Visit your legislator. Establish a relationship with your Senator or Representative. They rely on Maine individuals for policy suggestions, feedback and information.
- Attend public hearings during the legislative session. Follow the process of behavioral health legislation closely.
- Submit testimony. Provide written or verbal testimony so that your voice is heard. In submitting testimony online, include the committee and date of public hearing. Click here for more details about current legislation.
Get involved with the National Council in protecting the U.S. behavioral health safety net:
- Participate in the latest Call to Action and Act NOW
- Learn about mental health and addiction policy on their blog, Capitol Connector.
- Write a message to your legislators in support of behavioral health
- Attend the National Council’s annual advocacy event, Hill Day.
- Take your advocacy to the next level by joining the Ambassadors Network.
For more information on how you can get involved with the National Council, please contact them directly.
Learn more about public policy and find advocacy tools at the Maine Association of Nonprofit’s Non Profit Public Policy Action Center.
Download and use the Advocacy Toolkit.
You can also reach out to your elected representatives:
Maine’s Congressional Delegation
SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS
413 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Fax: (202) 224-2693
Email Senator Collins
Sen. Collins’ State Offices
Augusta: (207) 622-8414
Bangor: (207) 945-0417
Biddeford: (207) 283-1101
Caribou: (207) 493-7873
Lewiston: (207) 784-6969
Portland: (207) 780-3575
SENATOR ANGUS S. KING, JR.
188 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Fax: (202) 224-1946
Email Senator King
Sen. King’s State Offices
Auburn: (207) 786-2451
Augusta: (207) 622-8292
Bangor: (207) 945-0432
Biddeford: (207) 282-4144
Portland: (207) 874-0883
Presque Isle: (207) 764-5124
REPRESENTATIVE CHELLIE PINGREE
1037 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6116
Fax: (202) 225-5590
Email Representative Pingree