Please welcome our next guest blogger, Carl Clark, CEO of The Mental Health Center of Denver
Carl Clark with President Clinton at the 2011 National Council conference
There are a lot of ways to make change for the behavioral healthcare field on Capitol Hill. I’ve seen one method, in particular, make an impact. And that is showing up in Washington D.C. to meet with your legislators face to face at the National Council’s annual Public Policy Institute and Hill Day. And we can take that up a notch with just 1 letter.
You might think that showing up here at the Capitol doesn’t make any difference, but it does. If you travel from wherever you are to get here, the congressional staff that you meet with will think, ‘Wow, this issue must really be important if someone came all the way here just to tell us about it.’ Just walking in the door makes a difference. But what if we walk in the door carrying 100 letters from constituents from back home? What about the impact 500 letters would make when plunked down on a Congressional desk? Now we’re talking influence and impact. We’re talking about making change.
The Hill Day letter-writing campaign magnifies our impact on Capitol Hill. Last year we delivered over 1,000 letters advocating for the behavioral healthcare field to Congressional offices. The letters spoke from the heart and came from all over the country from Kentucky to Arizona to Colorado.
One of the Hill Day 2011 attendees really put it best: “Does Congress care? Absolutely. I think they all care. This is how they find out what’s going on in their communities.” We have a big impact on what happens here in DC. With your presence, and your letters, we can make a difference.