Legislative Advocacy for Individuals with Lived Experience

Thomas Brown and Sarak Yousef, J.D.

Advocate Thomas Brown and Senior Supervision Attorney Sarah Yousuf of Mental Health Legal Advisors (MHLAC), an agency of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, have created a training for individuals with lived experience that will explain the legislative process — how a bill becomes law — and offer guidance on sharing our lived experience with lawmakers to better inform mental health legislation. For those of us who have felt thwarted in ending human rights abuses in the mental health system, or those who have enlightened solutions to problems based on our own experiences and understandings, turning to lawmakers and giving voice to these concerns and solutions can be an effective means of ending harmful practices and improving the supports available to people.

This training will provide attendees with the knowledge and understanding to make a difference at the level of the state legislature. The workshop was written especially for those with little or no experience with the legislative process. Examples of changes made at the legislative level in Massachusetts by people with lived experience will be given.