Behavioral Health Day 2018
In conjunction with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI Louisiana was proud to participate in Behavioral Health Day on May 10th. This annual rally was coordinated by Mental Health America of Louisiana to raise mental health awareness and drew in over 100 mental health advocates from around the state.
The rally, held at A.Z. Young Park across from the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, featured speakers from across the state, such as Jessie Smith III, Jasmin Pierre, Jeanne Schramm, and other mental health advocates with lived experience who gave testimonials on how they have relied on Medicaid coverage in order to seek proper treatment and medication. As the state legislature is threatening significant cuts to healthcare, many outpatient programs that bring treatment to people in their homes may be eliminated. Many individuals with mental illnesses would be dramatically affected by cuts to behavioral health.
Nick Albares, Health and Welfare Policy Advisor for Governor John Bell Edwards Office, spoke to attendees of the rally and sent well wishes from Governor Edwards. Albares told the audience that advocacy is important in order to urge lawmakers to balance the budget and not drastically cut healthcare.
The rally's attendees included representatives from many non-profit organizations. Staff from Veterans of America attended the rally in order to make their voices heard as they brought signs and posters with statistics on mental illness and personal affirmations such as "We matter."
Mental Health America of Louisiana and NAMI Louisiana partner each year to host Behavioral Health Day. Our mission is to bring together anyone who is interested in promoting positive change through advocacy, education, and community outreach.