Senator Eric Lesser sponsored the annual Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Western Mass Area Citizen’s Legislative Breakfast, held March 18 at Springfield Technical Community College.
The event provided an opportunity for people with mental illness, family members, providers and advocates to interact with state legislators.
“Connection to a community is crucial for those who are struggling or in recovery and can open the door to jobs, a home, healthy relationships and validation of one’s worth as a person. Advocates are often the bridge to this community, making the work that you all do extremely important,” Senator Lesser said in an address to attendees. “If we all work together, we can make a care system that is more strength-based and person-centered.”
“This is an opportunity for the mental health community—consumers, families, providers and advocates—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,” said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula.
The event’s centerpiece was a series of personal stories shared by Department of Mental Health consumers and their families, which aimed to put a face on mental illness. The breakfast also served to demonstrate that people with mental illness can recover, achieve important accomplishments and lead satisfying and productive lives. During the event, the Department of Mental Health also presented Senator Lesser with a certificate of appreciation.
More than 250 people attended the breakfast, including legislators, consumers, family members and mental health advocates.