Want to advocate for student mental health, but don’t know where to start? Check out these resources!
Your voice matters! Here are five ways you can advocate at the federal level for student mental health.
1. Share your story.
Representatives want to hear how proposed policy would directly impact you and your community. Let them know about your experience with school-based mental health services or your own mental health journey. Typically, only emails with the most unique or memorable stories get shared with actual congresspeople; we recommend adding personal anecdotes to make your outreach more memorable and poignant!
2. Use data.
On our website here, you will find key data points and up-to-date statistics about mental health issues and prevention rates among young people to fully equip you to advocate for policies, systems, and environmental changes that will improve mental health and well-being on your college campus. Our aim is to provide accessible, digestible, and contextualized data to support your advocacy efforts.
3. Have a clear ask.
What policies, practices, or programs do you want to bring to your school? While you might want your representative to vote yes on every mental health bill that is being considered, try to narrow your focus to one piece of legislation. Make sure to include the full names and bill numbers for each policy that you are promoting.
4. Contact your representative.
Reaching out to your representative can be a great way to ensure that in-school mental health policies get the support they need to pass on a federal level.
- Click here to find your representatives.
- Contact methods:
- Write an email.
- Write a physical letter.
- Make a phone call.
- Schedule a meeting at a district office.
Federal representatives and their staff receive hundreds, if not thousands, of messages and letters to their offices each day. Make sure to keep all written communication under one page, and all voicemails under 30 seconds.
5. Register to vote—and then vote!
Another meaningful way to support student mental health policies is by voting for legislators that view student mental health as a priority. Every state except for North Dakota requires citizens to register if they want to become voters. While the voting age across the U.S. is 18, some states allow you to pre-register, and several others allow you to vote in primary elections at 17 as long as you will turn 18 by the next general election.
- Click here to check your state’s voter registration deadlines.
- Click here to register to vote online.
- Click here to register by mail.
- Click here to register and request an absentee ballot as an overseas or military voter.
- If you would prefer to register in person, you can also visit your state or local election office.