National Alliance on Mental Illness Texas

Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Training

  • Impact
    • Over 125 individuals participated in 13 training sessions on mental health advocacy
    • 300 people attended Capitol Day rallies for the 81st and 82nd Legislative Sessions
    • Two Austin advocates submitted letters to a state agency regarding the issue of open access to medication as well as letters opposing mental health budget cuts
    • 45 individuals attended a day of faith-based outreach
    • 47 individuals received stipends to attend the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas National Conference

Statewide Need
There is a continued need for the development of training programs and resources to assist Texans with developmental disabilities and their families learn leadership and advocacy skills. To do this, leadership development and advocacy skills training programs must exist in many different areas around the state. Because it is unlikely that any one organization can provide enough funding to meet the demand, it is imperative that organizations that offer this kind of training work with others. This structure will support the development and/or expansion of sustainable leadership and advocacy training efforts.

Project Goal
Create strong leaders in mental health advocacy by training consumers, family members, and other interested professionals and community members.

Project Summary
NAMI Texas held 13 trainings in six regions on mental health advocacy.

Training groups were invited to the Capitol Day Rally for the 81st Legislature. Approximately 300 people attended the rally, and many of the trainees had successful meetings with representatives. Since many Amarillo trainees could not attend, two speakers arranged to speak to their training group—an aid for Senator Seliger and an advocate for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Trainees worked on writing testimony for various legislative hearings and worked as a group to advocate at the local and individual level. Following the training, participants were able to take part in an advocacy activity where they practiced advocacy skills.

NAMI hosted a daylong seminar and panel discussion in East Texas with local stakeholders during which outreach, education, and advocacy training were provided. NAMI Texas partnered with minority educational institutions and targeted faith-based leaders in the community, as they are often the point of contact in times of mental health crisis. The group organized a day of faith-based outreach, education, and advocacy for consumers, family members, professionals, and faith leaders. Faith-based Tool Kits were provided to faith leaders who attended.

A second Capitol Day Rally was held for the 82nd Legislature. Approximately 300 participated, including trainees from previous sessions and mental health advocates from all over the state. An additional workshop was held at the NAMI Texas National Conference, titled “What I Learned in the 82nd Legislative Session.” Stipends were provided for individuals to attend the conference.

NAMI Texas also sponsored an online webinar to provide training on how to navigate the Texas Legislature website. This training was open to anyone, and information on the webinar was sent to all advocacy trainees. NAMI Texas started a public policy blog to help advocates communicate with each other and help keep mental health advocates informed, during the legislative session and throughout the year.

Project Period
Sep. 2008 – Aug. 2011

Austin State Hospital Campus
Building 781, Room 428
Austin, TX 78703

Geographic Reach
Austin, Amarillo, Houston, East Texas, San Antonio, and El Paso