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Advocacy Day 2024 to address mental health

People walking from the Michigan State Capitol

The Michigan Conference announces Advocacy Day 2024, to be held March 13 in Lansing, and the topic is mental health care access.

Save the date — March 13, 2024 — and join hundreds of United Methodists and friends at the State Capitol in Lansing to advocate for increased access to mental health care, an issue that impacts every family in Michigan.

Following the success of the Michigan Conference’s first Advocacy Day, dubbed the “Methodist Miracle,” which moved over 300 Michigan United Methodists to meet with state lawmakers and advocate for legislation reducing gun violence, planning is underway for next year’s event.

Everybody either knows someone or is someone who is impacted by mental illness. Statistics show (click here to learn more) that 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness each year. It affects people from all walks of life — no one is immune.

Unfortunately, not everyone has adequate access to the mental health services they need. In 2021, 421,000 Michiganders with a mental illness did not receive mental health care. This is an injustice, so supporting increased access to mental health care is our focus for Advocacy Day 2024.

Our United Methodist Social Principles state, “[Persons with mental illness] have a right and responsibility to obtain care appropriate to their condition. The United Methodist Church pledges to foster policies that promote compassion, advocate for access to care, and eradicate stigma within the Church and in communities.”

Join us in Lansing on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, as we take those words and put them into action. Last year, our advocacy for gun safety legislation made a real difference. All the bills we supported were passed, many participants experienced healing, relationships between lawmakers and their constituents were formed, and we showed everyone at the Capitol the love and peace of Christ. With your help, we can make an even bigger impact.

Resources from the General Board of Church and Society on supporting mental health care:

Overview article

Faith and Fact card

Mental Health Bulletin Insert

Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health and Faith, called seminar recordings, fall 2024:

1.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health & Faith with Dr. Monica Coleman

2.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health & BIPOC Communities with Dr. Sarah Vinson

3.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health and Climate Change with Dr. Janet Lewis and Sherwin Shabdar

4.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health and Gun Violence with Prof. Jeffrey Swanson

5.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health and Young People with Caren Howard

6.      Holding Sacred Space: Mental Health and Tools for a Faithful Community with Dawn Brown (NAMI)

Important Dates:

  •  January 25, 7 pm ET/6 pm CT: Advocacy 101: Let’s Talk About Power
  • February 15, 12:15 pm ET/11:15 CT: Lunch and Learn: Advocacy Day 2024 via the Michigan Conference's Facebook page
  • February 20, 7 pm ET/6 pm CT, Training #1, 'A Roadmap' with Tori Booker
  • February 25 - last day to register in time to meet with legislators
  • February 26, 7 pm ET/6 pm CT, Training #2, 'Insights' with State Representatives Julie Rogers, and Felicia Brabec
  • March 13 - Advocacy Day
  • March 20, 7 pm - Debrief

Ways you can help:

There are ways for everyone to participate, even if you can’t come to Lansing on March 13, 2024, for Advocacy Day:

    • Ask your church to receive an “offering of letters,” where letters written by members of the congregation to their legislators are blessed and then delivered in person by others on Advocacy Day.
    • Call or email your lawmakers or attend meet-and-greet events they host in your town. Find your State Representative on this web page. Find your State Senator on this web page.
    • Spread the word to the people in your networks or donate money to help cover the costs of Advocacy Day.
    • Invite a member of the Advocacy Day Steering Committee to come to talk to your group about the event.
    • Send weather-resistant semicolon butterflies to the event
    • Make advocacy posters

If you have questions or speaking requests, email Alice Townley or Michelle King at [email protected]

Thank you, justice seekers and advocates!

Last Updated on January 16, 2024

The Michigan Conference