Legislative Priorities

2020 Legislative Priorities

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NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization providing advocacy, education, support and public awareness.  NAMI Wisconsin is the state affiliate of NAMI and supports over 30 local chapters.  Together, our mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by mental illness and to promote recovery.

At the forefront of our advocacy is the recognition that stigma and discrimination directly affect people with mental illness and their families.  NAMI Wisconsin asserts a conscious effort to reduce stigma and discrimination in all areas of policy including healthcare, employment, housing and education.

COVID-19 Relief

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that affects everyone but especially those living with a mental illness who are experiencing increased isolation, anxiety and depression.
Here are some initiatives that could help:

  • Eliminate barriers to telehealth by ensuring that Medicaid and commercial health plans cover telehealth services and have technology in place to address growing mental health needs.
  • Create a workgroup of stakeholders to explore a model for a 24/7 statewide warmline that will provide peer support, referrals and resources to people experiencing emotional distress.

Access to Services

Everyone deserves access to quality mental health services in their own community.
Here are some initiatives that could help:

  • Expand Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to allow more people to access mental health services. 
  • Develop a package of initiatives that address the behavioral health workforce shortages in our state including tax incentives for psychiatrists, employment opportunities for peer specialists and loan forgiveness programs for behavioral health professionals.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a growing but preventable public health crisis in Wisconsin and we need a comprehensive approach to help save lives.
Here are some initiatives that could help: 

  • Pass the Extreme Risk Protection Order which will allow family members to petition a court to have a firearm temporarily removed from a home when a loved one poses a risk of violence.
  • Support initiatives that are developed by SAMHSA’s Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF).

Criminal Justice

Jails and prisons hold disproportionate numbers of people with mental illness who pose higher health and safety risks than the general incarcerated population.
Here are some initiatives that could help:

  •  Increase access in jails and prisons to medical care, personal hygiene products, no-cost phone calls to family members and 30-day medication prescriptions upon release. 
  • Expand the Treatment Alternatives & Diversion (TAD) program to divert low-risk offenders away from jail and into treatment.

Youth Mental Health

Youth need access appropriate school and community-based mental health services and peer supports during the first signs of mental, emotional or behavioral challenges.
Here are some initiatives that could help:

  • Support the expansion of the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program so Primary Care Providers can access a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist during a period of growing workforce shortages.
  • Ensure adequate access to school-based mental health services and peers support programs for all Wisconsin students in need.