Mental Health Advocacy Day – “Our Mental Health in the Time of COVID”
The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the focus of Vermont Care Partners’ advocacy efforts as our provider network has revamped our services to meet the needs Vermonters in new ways with careful precautions for health and safety of those we serve, our workforce and partners. Legislative work is still being conducted remotely.
Mental Health Advocacy Day – A Virtual Success
NAMI-VT, VAMHAR and Vermont Care Partners, plus 47 co-sponsors hosted a virtual Mental Health Advocacy Day. There were over 250 people participating. Speakers included: Congressman Welch, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith, Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell, Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint.
This year instead of giving awards, we had Chacku Mathai as our keynote speaker. He shared some of his personal experiences with racism, xenophobia, racialized trauma, including psychosis as a youth. Afterwards, he gave his perspective that truth and love are a critical part of advocacy. He suggested that to address racism we look for policies that create inequities first. He also expressed concern about the confabulation of mental illness leading to violence. In spite of his difficult journey, Chacku concluded his remarks by saying “we are rivers, not statues, continuing to grow and move” and that we are not droplets alone. The day concluded with stories from Vermonters who have experience with mental health conditions. The stories were as varied as their experiences. Some people spoke of the importance of peer support and others credited their designated agency for the services received.
If you weren’t able to participate on February 1, 2021, Not a problem…
Here is the recording of the day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OyOBW8JWLc