To quote a dear friend of mine … “be the change you want to see in the world.”
I was recently reminded that story telling is a powerful tool to create change in our world. My 13-year old son and I testified during our state’s legislative public hearing in support of a bill to study wait times in emergency departments for receiving acute psychiatric care. We told our personal story to a room full of state representatives, consumers, advocates, health professionals, and more.
When we were leaving the legislative building, Ben asked if we helped pass the bill. I said absolutely. He then asked what else we could do. I was quiet for a bit and said we can learn more about our legislative process and tell more stories.
I am not very political, however, I am passionate about health care parity for my kids. I am outraged by the disparity between going to the hospital to see an orthopedist for a broken wrist verses going to the hospital to see a psychiatrist for paranoid thoughts and wanting to hurt yourself.
I love that Ben wants to be a part of the solution and he is not embarrassed to have his story shared in a room full of state representatives.
Advocating is in part about telling personal stories.
To learn how best to share your story on issues you are passionate about and drive change related to mental health, go to NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can find your local NAMI office and learn how to get involved.
Tell your story, it makes a difference!