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Memo from NAMI National

TO:                 NAMI State Organization and Affiliate Leaders

FROM:            Katrina Gay, Director of Communications
             * 703-524-7600, ext 7916

                      Mary Giliberti, Director of Policy and Advocacy
             * 703-524-7600, ext. 7948

DATE:             September 19, 2006

SUBJECT:       NAMI tools and support for state and federal elections in 2006


This memo includes urgent, time-sensitive information regarding the 2006 state and federal elections.

As candidates campaign for state and federal elections this fall, many NAMI advocates, leaders, and members will be engaging in the debate as part of their commitment to the NAMI movement and mission. In support of this effort, we have assembled some tools for you to use in elevating the issues of mental illness.

  • State specific op-ed development and placement. Enclosed, and available electronically on the NAMI website, is a draft op-ed and guidelines for placement.This op-ed can be submitted to your local news paper(s) under your name for print consideration. An op-ed is an ideal way to elevate our issues and garner support for your affiliate. Instructions for submitting an op-ed and a list of the state grades from NAMI’s recent Grading the States report are included as well. If you would like personal assistance in shaping your piece, please contact us at
  • Technical Assistance and Information OpportunityWednesday, 9/27 * 1-2 pm EST. This one hour conference call is intended to support election efforts of State and Affiliate NAMI leadership. This call will include a Q&A, talking points, and media support from the NAMI Communications and Policy teams.  888-858-6021 * Passcode: 628 443. Contact Alexis O’Brien to RSVP at or at 703-312-7893.
  • Talking Points and Sample Questions. These five brief questions are ideal to use in candidate forums or meetings in your community. The questions can also be mailed to your local candidates.These questions were drafted to address issues that broadly impact people who live with serious mental illnesses and their families across the country.  Please feel free to add questions to address issues that are of specific concern in your state or community.NOTE that these are also good to use to meet with state and federal leaders AFTER the elections as well.

NAMI is providing additional resources for you to use below:

View the grade that your state mental health system received from NAMI's Grading the States Report

2006 Voting Guide Description
This quad fold guide is perfect to distribute prior to Election Day.  It is designed for those who might be new to the procedure of voting and reminds them where to go, what to bring and when voting is available at each site.

Backup of Federal Insurance Parity
Directed at candidates, this letter clearly explains the importance of mental health parity.

NAMI Candidate Forums
Candidate Forums sponsored by NAMI Minnesota.

Health Care Benefits
Similar in substance to the "Federal Insurance Parity" letter, this letter is directed at existing NAMI members.  It gives them background on the state laws on parity and the importance of parity for mental illness.

Candidate Flyer
This flyer is designed to distribute to candidates.  It explains important issues surrounding mental illness.

Related Files

NAMI Election 2006 Sample OPED (Word Document)
NAMI Election 2006 Candidate Questions (Word Document)
NAMI Election 2006 How to place an OPED (Word Document)
Conference Call Notes (Word Document)
NAMI Election 2006 Sample Letter to the Editor (Word Document)

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