October 2-8,  2016
    Mental Illness Awareness Week
October 2-8, 2016


NAMI Cape Cod & the Islands is commemorating Mental Illness Awareness week by launching the NAMI CC&I ADVOCACY NETWORK.
Send an email to advocacy@namicapecod.org to
T he NAMI CC&I ADVOCACY NETWORK will focus on the needs of adults with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and their families.

W hat are "Serious Mental Illnesses"?

In 1993, the federal Center for Mental Health Services (CMS) identified adults with SMI as persons who are:
* Age 18 and over,
* Who currently or at any time during the past year,
* Have had a diagnosable, mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
* That has resulted in functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

What must states do to care for adults with SMI?

CMS directed states to:
"continue to set priorities to assure that the most seriously mentally ill adults are given priority for services. This population is largely comprised of persons with schizophrenia and major mood disorders.
"attention should also be given to those individuals with serious mental illnesses whose disorders have resulted in homelessness or inappropriate involvement in the criminal justice system."

NAMI CC&I has identified three goals for the ADVOCACY NETWORK:
Advocacy Priorities
The most effective strategy for an advocacy campaign is to prioritize a limited number of goals and focus energy and attention on those. The CC&I ADVOCACY NETWORK will identify two to three topics to form the foundation of the advocacy program.
Monitor legislation, regulations, and policy developments
In recent years, legislative committees, task forces, reports and studies have identified the many weaknesses in the mental health system. Many have concluded that the system is in turmoil and reform is needed. It is imperative that the ADVOCACY NETWORK monitor developments that may impact people with serious mental illnesses and their families on Cape Cod and the Islands.
Develop strategies
A cornerstone of any advocacy effort is communication. The ADVOCACY NETWORK will develop a strategy for effective communication with NAMI CC&I members, stakeholders, policymakers and the public. The goal will be to share information, solicit input and communicate the need for a more effective system of health care and community services for individuals with serious mental illnesses and their families on the Cape and Islands.
Please send an email to advocacy@namicapecod.org if you would like to be involved in the ADVOCACY NETWORK. Please ask questions and/or share your ideas by email.
We hope that you will help us develop the ADVOCACY NETWORK so that we can improve the lives of individuals with serious mental illnesses and their families on Cape Cod & the Islands.