Communicating with Legislators
Communicating with your legislators is the best way to get your voice heard. You can communicate with your legislator in a letter, by making a phone call, or with a personal visit.
General Tips for Communicating with Your Legislators
- Keep it brief. Whether in person or in a letter, state your purpose, give your point of view and request an action. Click here for tips for writing letters and making calls.
- Stay on point. Let them know what you want without confusing them. Here are some key messages important to DBSA.
- Share your personal story, but don’t be overly emotional. One personal story or one powerful experience can change a person’s mind or heart.
- Learn the names of legislative aides. You may not always get to work directly with your legislator so get to know his/her aides, they may be your best ally. Learn more about talking to congressional staff here.
- Visits make the biggest impression. Here are some tips on speaking with your legislator in person.
- Communicate before decisions are made. Be proactive in making a difference, once their vote is cast, there is little you can do. Keep the communication on-going. Don’t just contact them when there is a vote or to complain.
- Compliment them on a job well done, or to inform them of new or interesting information on issues important to you.
- Remember you represent others. As a mental health advocate you are representing the community as a whole to your legislator. Make sure you leave them with a positive impression.
- JUST DO IT! Something is better than nothing. Write a postcard, send an email, fax a personal story. Making contact is the most important step! Do what you can.