Vinfen was honored to attend the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s 2017 Legislative Breakfasts at the State House in February and March. This important series provided an opportunity for hundreds of providers, people served, family members, and advocates to meet with their legislators to advocate for the programs and funding that allow providers like Vinfen to transform lives, together.
This year’s Legislative Breakfast series brought together Vinfen staff and people we serve from all corners of Massachusetts. At each of the breakfasts, guests were treated to an opening address by DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula. The Commissioner maintained that of the many challenges facing individuals with psychiatric conditions, perhaps the greatest is that compared with the general population, people with major mental illness lose 25-30 years of normal life span. If substance use is factored in, the life span is reduced by an additional 10 years. “This is an opportunity for the mental health community to meet with their legislators, thank them for their support, and discuss with them the many services DMH provides to individuals with serious mental illness,” she said.
In addition to being moved by the inspiring stories of recovery shared with all those in attendance, Vinfen was also pleased to participate in the event. At the Southeast Area breakfast, Vinfen’s Atlantic Clubhouse put together an art installation that featured paintings and drawings displayed on a large, illuminated model lighthouse. Several artists joined Clubhouse Director Janette Tibets in chatting with interested guests about their artwork.
Vinfen was also especially proud to have Jasmin Rodriguez and Shawna Cortes, two young adults served by Vinfen, as emcees at the Northeast Area Legislative Breakfast on March 29. The pair did an incredible job introducing the honored guests, legislators, and speakers while adding insights from their own recovery journeys.
A special thank you to all the legislators who made time in their busy schedules to not only attend these breakfasts, but also speak to their many supporters about the issues and stories most important to them.
Interested in advocating for the support of individuals with psychiatric conditions? Contact your legislators!