Nowadays it seems everyone solicits opinions on any number of issues through online surveys and other opportunities. One can make his or her thoughts known about restaurants, food choices, music and theater events, and many more options from our daily lives. People want to know what we think.
Well, here we are just a few weeks away from our local and state elections which will take place on November 6th; the greatest opportunity to be make our opinions heard. Yet, ironically, some people sit out the election cycle. They’re convinced their vote doesn’t or won’t make a difference, or they fail to register in time to have their voices heard. Please don’t be one of those folks.
I remember I couldn’t wait to turn age 18 so I could vote, and I still feel that excitement on voting day. I usually vote early in the day, so I can have that cool “I voted” sticker on my lapel all day. I love that people get to choose who has the power to act on their behalf. I may not always agree with the outcome, but that doesn’t diminish my intent to vote again the next time.
What’s more, having been in the field of health and mental health for well over 25 years now, I’ve come to see that there is so much that goes on that is impacted by our elected officials. They set budget priorities and determine agency funding. They pass legislation on supportive housing, benefits, employment and educational programs, caregiver support, and other important issues and programs that directly impact individuals with lived experience and family members.
Our elected officials decide what’s important in mental health and what’s not. That’s the reason it’s critical that everyone for whom mental health is a priority vote. Make your voice heard and support mental health champions who understand and will fight for legislation and funding that improves the lives of people touched by mental health conditions.
In order to vote you must be REGISTERED. Here in Connecticut it’s easy to register. You can do so either online by visiting https://voterregistration.ct.gov/ or in person at your local town registrar of voters which is usually located in your town hall. The last day to register online or for your registration to be received in the mail is October 30th. You can also register and then vote on election day in Connecticut! Contact the registrar of voters in your town for locations where you can register on November 6th. So, there’s no reason not to vote.
Once you’re registered you’ll find out where you can go to cast your ballot. Join all of others who want to be heard; who feel it’s imperative that our legislators make mental health a priority. We want to help guide solutions and decisions and one of the best ways to do that is to vote.
Kate Mattias MPH, JD
Executive Director NAMI Connecticut
576 Farmington Ave.