Chairman Four Price’s mental health parity bill – HB 10 – is scheduled to hit the House floor on Tuesday, April 4th.

NAMI Texas has been closely involved in crafting this bill and advocating for it. A critical component of the strategy is for NAMI family members and peers to contact their Texas House representative in support of HB 10. We believe that 30-second, clear, and concise phone calls to Texas House representatives is best at this point. Please only call the one Texas House representative that you are a constituent of. Monday is best!

Here is a one-pager with information on HB 10. Please make your call today!

To make your call as easy and effective as possible, follow the simple steps below, provided by NAMI Texas.

Thank you for your advocacy!
NAMI Austin Advocacy Committee


Advocacy Call Checklist

Below is a basic checklist of items to include in these phone calls. A 30-second phone call from one of their constituents can make all the difference.

Introduce yourself:
Say hello.  Identify yourself by your name and mention that you are a constituent and the city or town you live in. Ask to speak to your legislator. If unavailable, ask if staff will relay your message. If you get voicemail, leave your message there.

State your issue and position:
Indicate why you’re calling. Let your legislator know your issue and the position or action you want him or her to take. “I am calling to ask for your / Rep. ____’s support on HB 10 – an important mental health parity bill – when it is heard on the House floor this week.

Make it personal:
Describe why this issue matters to you personally. Include how you are affected by mental illness. If you or a loved one have been affected by unfair private insurance denials for mental health benefits, please mention that.

Optional – add your story or talking point:

  • Option 1: Add a highlight of your story. In one to three sentences, describe an important part of your story that is relevant to the issue. In this case, it would be related to denials for mental health care under private insurance.
  • Option 2: Make a point or two. Talk briefly about the impact of the issue or bill. (please see the attached one-pager)

What is the need or problem:
Mention the problem or need you want addressed. Transition to the challenge(s) faced by people living with mental illness. (In this case: Historically, insurance benefits for mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) services have been limited in many health plans, hindering access to the health care treatment needed for optimal recovery.)

What will help others:
Propose a solution. Let your legislator know what will help address the need or problem you described. (see the 4 “the bill calls for” items on the attached one-pager.)

Make you “ask”:
Express your hope for their support. Let your legislator know, again, the action or position you would like them to take. (“I would like to ask for your / Rep. _____’s support on HB 10 when it is heard on the House floor this week)

Thank your elected official. Let your legislator know you appreciate their time.

NAMI is thrilled to announce its partnership with Lokai, the socially responsible balance brand representing the importance of finding balance along life’s journey. Lokai created a new limited-edition bracelet in partnership with NAMI.

Lokai will donate $1 to NAMI for each Orange Lokai sold through March 31st to fund the NAMI HelpLine for one year, giving people with mental health conditions a safe place to talk and receive the support they need. The HelpLine connects callers to resources in their local community as well as programs provided by NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates.

Why orange?
Lokai chose the color of the NAMI bracelet. They selected orange because it is a mixture of energy from red and happiness from yellow. Orange represents enthusiasm, determination, and encouragement, which are values of NAMI.

Where can you get yours?
The Orange Lokai bracelet is available on www.Lokai.com and through all wholesale partners (find your local retailer) for $18 through March 31, 2017.

Building the movement
In addition to NAMI receiving $1 of each Orange Lokai purchased through March 31, this partnership provides national exposure to NAMI and our mission to build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

This partnership will help build the mental health movement nationwide. As NAMI grows, it is essential that we strive to reach new audiences so that more people know they are not alone, have a place to turn for support and to share their story, and to access information. This joint campaign is a perfect stepping stone on the path to NAMI becoming a household name.

Congress just unveiled the American Health Care Act. It caps Medicaid funding, which would lead to deep cuts and jeopardize mental health services.

Federal help to buy health insurance would be reduced, leaving people unable to afford mental health care.

And it would freeze Medicaid expansion in 2020, leaving people with mental illness without the services they need to stay in school, on the job and in recovery.

Tell your U.S. Representative this is unacceptable.

Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121, press #2 and enter your zip code.

Use our talking points below–and add your own story, if you like.

“As a constituent, I urge you to reject American Health Care Act provisions that will harm people with mental illness:

  • Don’t reduce federal help to buy health insurance. With reductions, millions of people, including people with mental illness, won’t be able to afford mental health care.
  • Don’t accept “per capita cap” funding of Medicaid. Instead of flexibility, this would lead to deep cuts and jeopardize mental health services.
  • Don’t end enrollment of people in Medicaid expansion. This will leave people with mental health and substance use conditions without the treatment they need to stay in school, on the job and in recovery.
  • Don’t put millions of Americans with mental illness at risk. Cutting corners in health coverage will result in worsened conditions and costly use of emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.”

Can’t make the call?

Email your Representative now.

NAMI is nonpartisan. We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families.

growDo you get excited at the prospect of building something new and knowing your work has the potential to have a long-term, tangible impact? While founded in 1984, NAMI Austin is basically a 33-year old “startup,” having hired its first executive director just 3 years ago. Since then, NAMI Austin has been strategically riding a wave of change in the way our community addresses mental health by providing the best mental health education, and support and advocacy programming, all at no cost. To meet the growing needs of the community, we’re looking for someone to propel us to the next level by enhancing our volunteer and donor engagement. As a volunteer-driven organization with limited resources, this VISTA position has the potential to have a huge impact on the lives of the thousands of individuals and families in the Austin area affected by mental illness.

Located in the heart of the “Live Music Capitol of the World,” NAMI Austin offers a VISTA member a unique blend of opportunity for professional growth in a great location for anyone who loves the outdoors, a thriving music and arts community, and the best food truck tacos in the state. The Donor & Volunteer Relations VISTA has two major roles: developing a new volunteer program structure and identifying and implementing new donor and volunteer management database. The position will allow for a combination of creativity, innovation, and strategic organizational development in an extremely supportive atmosphere with great training and strong teamwork in a city with a large and visible AmeriCorps presence.

Member Duties: The NAMI Austin Donor & Volunteer Relations VISTA will enhance the agency’s volunteer and donor engagement programs by developing new and improved tools to ensure long-term and sustainable volunteer retention and tracking of individual and corporate donors. Duties include developing and improving volunteer recruitment, training, and retention tools; researching, developing and implementing much-needed donor and volunteer databases; training agency staff on how to use the new tools. The VISTA member’s contributions will help support the agency’s expansion and stability by more effectively and efficiently managing the fast-paced growth of the volunteer program while ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the organization. She or he will work closely with the mission-driven staff of a vibrant organization experiencing exponential growth at a time of increased community mental health awareness.

Program Benefits: Training , Living Allowance , Health Coverage* , Relocation Allowance , Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend , Stipend , Childcare assistance if eligible .

*For details about AmeriCorps VISTA healthcare benefits, please visit http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare

Terms: Permits working at another job during off hours, car recommended, permits attendance at school during off hours.

AnnouncingOn Monday, January 23, NAMI Austin hosted “Speak Up: Advocating for Change in the 85th Legislative Session” featuring mental health public policy experts Greg Hansch, Public Policy Director at NAMI Texas, and Lee Johnson, Deputy Director at the Texas Council of Community Centers. They shared updates on what to expect this legislative session as well as tools and ideas for advocating for change in the session. You can find links to their PowerPoint presentations below:

“Mental Health Advocacy in the 85th Legislative Session,” Greg Hansch NAMI Texas

“Speak Up: Advocating for Change in the 85th Legislative Session,” Lee Johnson, Texas Council of Community Centers

holiday-blues-01The Austin American-Statesman published a new opinion piece by NAMI Austin’s Executive Director, Karen Ranus. The piece offers advice on how to avoid the Holiday Blues and have a healthy holiday season.

It’s the season to be jolly, but the holidays are also the best time of the year to remember the gift of good self-care and encourage friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

See the full article here and our Holiday Blues page here.

NAMI Austin held its Annual Meeting  at Dell Medical Center on November 30 which featured Texas Senator Kirk Watson sharing his vision for improving mental health health care with a focus on utilizing community resources such as Dell Medical School to launch the “M.D. Anderson” for brain health.

Watch KXAN’s coverage of the event below and click here to read the text of Sen. Watson’s remarks.

See the full story here.

#OK2Talk: Starting the Mental Health Conversation with Teens

 Monday, October 24 |  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Anderson High School Library
8403 Mesa Drive
(access parking & library from Cima Serena Dr. entrance)

Click here for a flyer to download, print and share!

Click here for a youth mental health fact sheet.

We fill our teens’ backpacks with school supplies, give them advice about academics and encourage them to eat right and get sleep. Yet, we rarely provide them with the tools and language needed to talk about mental health in the same way they do their physical health.

Creating home and school environments in which it’s okay to talk about mental health equips teens with the skills required to handle the challenges of school, relationships and family that many face each day. With mental illness underlying 90% of cases of suicide, talking about mental health also has the capacity to save young lives.
Join us for a modified demonstration of NAMI’s “Ending the Silence” mental health and suicide awareness presentation followed by a panel discussion featuring  professionals as well as a parent and student.

Panelists: Julia Black, Ending the Silence presenter; Dr. Mathis Kennington, LMFT, Clinical Director with Austin Family Institute; Dianna Groves, AISD Crisis Coordinator; Dr.Elizabeth Minne, Ph.D, Executive Director VIDA Clinic; Karen Ranus, NAMI Austin Executive Director; Moderator Jessica Miller, NAMI Austin Program Director

For more information, contact NAMI Austin at 512-420-9810 or info@namiaustin.org.