National Council for Behavioral Health: ADVOCACY HANDBOOK

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Legislators make decisions every day that will either help improve access to care for those who need it or make it more difficult for your organization to serve your community.

If we, as advocates, do not speak up, they will make those decisions without a complete understanding of what their choices will actually mean for constituents.

This handbook will help you focus your power as an advocate and use it in the most effective way possible to advance public policies to strengthen the safety-net and expand access to care.

How to Use this Handbook

The handbook is designed so you may begin anywhere and use some or all of the suggestions. You can read through the entire document to get a broad understanding of how to be an effective advocate or you can dive into specific sections, such as how to have an effective meeting with your legislators. Feel free to pull sections or resources from the handbook and disseminate them among your legislators or clients.

While the handbook and resources were developed with federal advocacy in mind, you may find many of the tips and tools useful in your state advocacy.

The Top Three Things You Can Do Right Now
1. Get to know your legislators, their committee assignments and their positions on your issues.
2. Introduce yourself and your organization via email, virtual meeting or in-person meeting.
3. Sign up for National Council Action Alerts.

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