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Mental-health advocates plan legislative forum

Published 4:55 pm, Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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A Fairfield mental-health advocacy group has invited nearly 40 state legislators to a forum on Connecticut mental-health issues Wednesday evening, March 6, at First Church Congregational.

The forum is 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the church's Wakeman Hall, 148 Beach Road, and is sponsored by area chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Southwest Regional mental health board.

In a news release, NAMI's Fairfield chapter said its fourth annual Legislative Social would focus on three areas:

Preserving and protecting the mental health safety net through more funding for community-based services;

ensuring early intervention through stronger school-based mental health programs; and

guaranteeing access to services with adequate insurance coverage.

The event is open to the public and will include light refreshments. To attend, call Judy Gardner, Fairfield chapter president, at 203-650-3463 so accommodations can be planned.

The goal is to raise awareness "that talking about supporting a strong mental health system and actually doing what needs to be done to support that system are two very different things."

Legislators and other elected officials have been invited from Fairfield and 13 other Fairfield County communities, but the organization is asking residents to urge their elected officials to attend.

"It is important that supporters of this event contact their legislator, and selectman/mayor to stress the importance of their attendance," NAMI Fairfield President Judy Gardner said in the release. "While they have been officially invited, when elected officials hear from their constituents, they are much more likely to attend."

Fairfield legislators invited include state Sen. John McKinney, R-28, and Reps. Brenda Kupchick, R-132, Kim Fawcett, D-133, and Tony Hwang, R-134.