Know your subject matter and prepare your pitch.
Find out statistics and facts about the issues and where your legislators stand on these issues. Also, be clear and concise. Be prepared to speak about what you’re advocating for in different situations. Sometimes we have 30 minutes to speak about an issue, sometimes we have a three-minute elevator ride. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you feel comfortable and confident when you’re engaging with decision-makers and have statistics to reference to help make your points.
Connect with your legislators.
Elected officials want constituent support and there are numerous ways you can connect and engage with them. Follow them on social media, sign up for emails, and attend public events with them. You could tag them on social media in posts about issues you care about and ask them where they stand or if they will support an issue. Look for opportunities to share your story or pitch and be prepared for encounters at events (i.e. meeting a representative at a conference or other event). Find your local representatives and get more NAMI tips on how to engage with candidates.
Share your personal story.
Legislators are committed to serving the needs of their constituents. When we share our personal stories, we help them understand what we need.
Make sure you stay updated on issues you care about, where your legislators stand on issues, and what’s going on at the local and state levels.
Every election provides us with the opportunity to vote for leaders and laws to improve mental health services.