LOCATION: Consumer Council System of Maine, 55 Middle Street, Suite 2, Augusta, ME
CO-SPONSORED BY: Shared Voices & Visions, a collaborative effort of the Consumer Council System of Maine, Disability Rights Center of Maine's PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness) Advisory Council, Maine Association of Peer Support & Recovery Centers, Advocacy Initiative Network of Maine and the Wrendy Hayne Foundation
Shared Voices & Voices will be hosting a legislative training to be facilitated by local lobbyist, Betsy Sweet.
The Shared Voices & Visions Collaborativeprimary goal is to support increased voice, presence, and participation of those with lived experience relating to mental health issues in all areas that impact our quality of life.
The purpose of the training is to provide training and tips on how the Legislature works and effective ways to testify on bills that will impact our lives.
There are a limited seats for the training and in order to be eligible, you will need to write a brief note (either electronic or regular mail) and tell us why you are interested, what you feel you can contribute and what kind of time can you commit to.
We need you as this legislative season is going to be very important because many bills that are being submitted will affect all aspects of the lives of ourselves and our peers. It is very important that our voices are heard. We have to pull together to make this happen. Please note that the voice of one person does really matter and can make a huge difference!!
This does not mean you always have to come to Augusta. We have had success with people writing testimony and having someone else read it and distribute as well. There are also other ways that you can always help if you do not feel you can participate in this way. Just let us know and we will connect you with what you are willing to do.
This is not a training for everyone in the sense that it will require a commitment of your time going forward to do the legislative work required at the State House. We are not requesting that you have the expertise going into the training. We are looking for people who are willing to learn and willing to share their stories and others as well.
Should we have a lot of interest in this training, we will host another one down the road.
Please send your letter of interest to Simonne Maline, CCSM Executive Director by January 20th: email@example.com 55 Middle Street, Suite 2, Augusta, ME 04330
While this is short notice, we are just getting some understanding in the last 24 hours about what this bill is about and what its impact could potentially be. We are hoping that those in the Consumer Community that can, will come and speak about their thoughts about how this bill feels to those of us with mental health challenges.
To summarize: LD 1526 adds language to an existing bill regarding Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims that allows for law enforcement to contact a Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Assault Advocacy agency to reach out to the victim to offer support and resources for help. The law enforcement community and NAMI crafted this bill thinking they could just add language to include a Mental Health Advocate and the same rules would apply. Law enforcement would contact the Mental Health advocate and ask them to call the person they consider to be in need of help regardless if said person asked or wants the follow up. Now think of how this would look for a mental health consumer: law enforcement can be called for any reason and think that someone might have a mental health need. They then can give some information (what and how much is still unknown) to a mental health advocacy agency to call you whether or not you have asked for or want it.
Here are the concerns we have that we are going to ask about:
·DV/SA are legal issues and MH is a protected health issue. How does this relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
·How does a non-trained mental health person i.e. law enforcement decide there is a mental health issue?
·What information is shared, who has access and how is it managed?
·There are not MH advocate organizations that have the capacity or would want to do this work. (NAMI, DRM)
·Why doesn’t law enforcement personnel offer resources to the person and allow them to choose to access help if they need or want it?
·When does genuine concern trump civil rights?
Please contact the CCSM office at 1-877-207-5073 if you want more information or need assistance in any way. You can also just be at the hearing to lend support and show the committee that our community is listening and concerned.