Making Our Voices Heard

Advocate in the US Capitol

We need to educate our representatives! Most legislators don’t know that mental illness research is vastly underfunded relative to its burden on individuals and society.

Call, write, or send an email to your senators and your representative.

Find their contact information here.

You can use our sample letter, below. Copy and paste the text and add your personal story! Edit it any way you want.
Or, of course, write your own letter. Let us know if you do!

Letter to a Representative


The Honorable [Full Name]
[Room #] [Building Name] House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative [Last Name],

I am a constituent, and I believe that we need to increase the funding for research to better understand and treat mental illnesses.

Recently, the U.S. government has shown a commitment to brain research through the BRAIN Initiative. I urge you to support increased funding for this important work, as well as other research that can help improve the lives of people living with mental illnesses. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), though a step in the right direction, does not provide enough of an increase in research funding, and places undesirable restrictions on the type of research funded.

Mental illnesses account for a huge proportion of the global burden of disease—the leading cause of disability worldwide and in the U.S. is depression, and many other mental illnesses are among the top diseases. Yet we know little about the causes and mechanisms of these illnesses and our current treatments are often inadequate and carry dangerous or unpleasant side effects.

Despite this, funding for mental illness research is low relative to the burden of mental illnesses on individuals and society. For example, all the cancers together account for 15% of the disability burden in the U.S. and mental illnesses account for 10%. Yet for disorders like autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others we invest less than half the amount we do for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.

Research saves lives—huge influxes of research funding helped us to save millions of lives that might have been lost to cancer and other disorders like AIDS. These investments have had the beneficial side effect of creating therapeutics companies and jobs. It is time to for us to invest R&D dollars in understanding and treating disorders of the brain better.



Sincerely,

[signature]

[Your name]

Letter to a Senator


The Honorable [Full Name]
[Room #] [Building Name] Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator [Last Name],

I am a constituent, and I believe that we need to increase the funding for research to better understand and treat mental illnesses.

 

Recently, the U.S. government has shown a commitment to brain research through the BRAIN Initiative. I urge you to support increased funding for this important work, as well as other research that can help improve the lives of people living with mental illnesses. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 (S. 1945), though a step in the right direction, does not provide enough of an increase in research funding, and places undesirable restrictions on the type of research funded.

 

Mental illnesses account for a huge proportion of the global burden of disease—the leading cause of disability worldwide and in the U.S. is depression, and many other mental illnesses are among the top diseases. Yet we know little about the causes and mechanisms of these illnesses and our current treatments are often inadequate and carry dangerous or unpleasant side effects.

 

Despite this, funding for mental illness research is low relative to the burden of mental illnesses on individuals and society. For example, all the cancers together account for 15% of the disability burden in the U.S. and mental illnesses account for 10%. Yet for disorders like autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others we invest less than half the amount we do for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.

 

Research saves lives—huge influxes of research funding helped us to save millions of lives that might have been lost to cancer and other disorders like AIDS. These investments have had the beneficial side effect of creating therapeutics companies and jobs. It is time to for us to invest R&D dollars in understanding and treating disorders of the brain better.



Sincerely,

[signature]

[Your name]