A Message from WI-AIMH Executive Director Lana Nenide

August 30th, 2016

Dear WI-AIMH friends and members,

In March of this year, we urged you to contact Senator Baldwin’s office to call her attention to the importance of approving the provision for mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment programs for infants and very young children. This was a very successful effort and Senator Baldwin supported the inclusion of a section focused on infants, toddlers and their families in mental health legislation. The legislation was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Since then, the House of Representatives has passed comprehensive mental health reform legislation, including the provision to invest in infant an early childhood mental health. The infant early childhood mental health provision added to the bill would:

 Award grants to develop, maintain, or enhance infant and early childhood mental health prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
 Ensure that funded programs are grounded in evidence and are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
 Allow funds to support:

- age-appropriate preventive, early intervention, or treatment services;
- training for infant and early childhood mental health clinicians to integrate with other providers who work with young children and families;
- training for mental health clinicians in infant and early childhood mental health;
- infant/early childhood mental health consultation to early care and education programs.

Once again we are asking for your help – please contact both Senator Baldwin and Senator Johnson tomorrow, August 31st, and urge them to vote “yes” to pass mental health reform this year. It is imperative that both our senators hear from as many constituents as possible.

The contact information for Senator Ron Johnson: Phone: (202) 224-5323 or https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-thesenator
The contact information for Senator Tammy Baldwin: Phone: (202) 224-5653 or https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback

Here are some talking points:

 As a constituent, I urge you to pass mental health reform this year.
 The bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 includes a groundbreaking provision to invest where the foundations of strong mental health are laid – with very young children and their parents, starting from birth.
 Between 9% and 14% of children under age 5 experience an emotional or behavioral disturbance. This means that between 1.9 and 2.8 million very young children in the U.S. need more intensive mental health support.
 By beginning at birth this legislation will open the doors for more effective prevention of severe mental health disturbances later in life saving families, communities and our country billions of dollars in the long run.
 The need for reform is urgent. You have the opportunity to act now to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans, their families, and our communities.
 Please urge your colleagues to bring mental health reform to the floor for a vote this year and vote “yes.”
 Please remember by attending to infant/early childhood mental health, it is possible to change the trajectory of a child’s life to reduce the need for treatment later in life, decrease incarceration rates and to grow healthier and happier communities.

With deep gratitude,

Lana Nenide, MS, IMH-E® (IV)
Executive Director
Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health


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