It’s Time to Envision a New System

Words matter. So do actions. We need you for both.

NAMI Seattle stands in support of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County and Black organizers across Seattle and the U.S. who are leading a movement to dismantle anti-Black systems and policies. Too often we talk about racial health disparities as if they were separate issues while failing to name the racism that is built into the very marrow of our mental health system. But if we don’t name it, we can’t change it. 

For many in the NAMI community – especially those least impacted by the effects of racism – this may be the first time you’re hearing conversations about divesting funds from police departments to reinvest in community supports. What does this mean? At NAMI Seattle, we believe this is exactly what we have been asking for all along – investment in the community assets we need to have an equitable, healthy city for everyone. NAMI’s movement to decriminalize mental illness has always been a call to replace policing and prisons with services and support.

So what does change look like? For 40 years, we have worked for incremental change within existing systems of law enforcement. Yet people with acute mental illness still make up 1 in 4 police killings and are 16 times more likely than others to be killed in police encounters, while our Black family, friends and, neighbors continue to experience staggering rates of police violence. Will we keep asking for a policy change here, a little more education there, in the hopes of reducing police violence by a percentage point or two? Why would we settle for so very little? 

We’re ready for more meaningful change, and we think you are, too. So let’s start here: Envision Survey Before the advocacy work begins – and the work is coming – we must get ready!

The first step is to envision our ideal world. Help us. Below are some questions to get you started.

First, imagine that you or your loved one is having a mental health crisis. You are distraught, feel like you’re spinning out of control.  You question reality.

Who would you call? In an ideal world, what help, what support would you and your loved ones receive?

What would your ideal world, your ideal Seattle, look like? Think big. Tell us your dreams.

Envision Survey

We’ll share these visions with our community and use them as our inspiration as we move on as a NAMI Seattle family in support of Black lives, in opposition to racist systems. Black lives matter.

Together we can envision a new way forward.

In Community,

Your NAMI Seattle Team

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