Jacqueline Martinez, Nominated by NAMI Massachusetts
Member of NAMI Latino Metro Boston
I am the parent of a child with mental illness struggling with my own lived experience. I have dedicated my life to bringing awareness, education, advocacy, resiliency and hope to those without a voice. I am committed to fighting stigma and unifying all communities to overcome the barriers we face.
Mental Health Coordinator I/Certified Peer Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
Director of Advocacy, NAM Latino Metro Boston
NAMI Connections State Trainer, NAMI Massachusetts
President, Board of Directors, Transformation Center, 2016-2017
Chair, Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council (PAIMI AC), Disability Law Center, 2015-2016
In 2006, my local NAMI Latino affiliate invited me to a meeting. I was Director of Casa Primavera, the only US Latino Clubhouse. Never Having heard of NAMI, I was greeted with acceptance by Spanish-speaking members who gave me a sense of purpose – and my journey began. I served 6 years as V.P. of my affiliate, participated in 9 NAMIWalks, provided Spanish interpretation at our convention, and currently serve as Director of Advocacy for Massachusetts NAMI Latino Metro Boston affiliate. Early on I served as a NAMI Connections Champion supporting 7 clubhouse members, then became a NAMI Connections Facilitator, a state NAMI Connections trainer, and now train nationally in Spanish (NAMI Conexiones). I took IOOV training and participated in Family-to-Family workshops, then co-facilitated family support groups in Spanish and English. I participated in the Sharing Hope Latino Leaders focus group, then secured a Compartiendo Esperanza grant to make it accessible to Latinos locally.
I will devote particular effort to remove barriers within diverse communities to accessing NAMI signature programs as an essential key that increases public awareness. I will advocate leveraging technology to expand capacity at the grassroots level as a game-changing way to connect with many communities and age groups. As an advocate for access in integrated health care reform and parity, these changes need to lead to improved outcomes in particular for people who are difficult to engage: homeless, involved with the criminal justice system, veterans, young people, and families. My particular strength lies in helping others overcome the overwhelming fear to voice our opinions, speak up for our rights and create change. Building the NAMI community through national bilingual education efforts, I am dedicated to role modeling how sharing our message also serves to recruit influential allies that will unite and support our work.
Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe, July 13, 2016
Sunday’s Boston Globe Spotlight article, “When despair meets deadly force” highlighted the challenging work police officers do in responding safely to people with mental health and substance use conditions.
Yet high quality mental health training and the requisite follow up community-building work between police and community providers remain inaccessible to the vast majority of police departments in the Commonwealth.
The consequences are devastating – from injuries and deaths for both individuals and officers, to unnecessary arrest and incarceration for actions that stem from illness rather than criminal intent.
NAMI Mass partnered with Senator Jason Lewis to file Senate Bill #2320 – An Act to Establish the Center of Excellence in Community Policing and Behavioral Health. This legislation scales up best practices with proven results. It makes crucial mental health de-escalation training available to police officers statewide, and provides technical assistance to improve policies and procedures and develop partnerships with local service providers that maximize referrals to treatment. The benefits include greater safety and significant cost savings associated with unnecessary criminal justice involvement.
The current lack of a statewide strategy puts both officers and citizens at risk. The legislature must take immediate action. Massachusetts is better than this.
June S. Binney
Director, Criminal Justice Diversion
Joint Statement in Response to Initial Story in Globe Spotlight Series on Mental
Health in Massachusetts
July 1, 2016
We are deeply concerned that the initial Spotlight series story on Massachusetts’ mental health care system has done long‐term damage by perpetuating the false impression that individuals with mental health conditions are inherently violent.
The facts show that they are not any more prone to violence than any other group, and while we acknowledge the tragic incidents reported by the Globe, we strongly believe that the Globe series, by linking mental illness and violence in such a sensationalistic way, will increase the stigma that has long plagued individuals with mental health conditions and their families.
As individuals in recovery, family members, service providers and legal advocates, we know that recovery is possible and access to a broad range of services is essential to meeting the needs of individuals living with a mental illness. We also know that tens of thousands of people living with a mental illness in Massachusetts lead full and productive lives every day. It’s unfortunate that the initial Spotlight report did nothing to highlight these individuals.
As advocates for restoring and revitalizing the Commonwealth’s mental health system, we call for greater investment of resources targeted to significant gaps in early intervention, treatment services and recovery supports for individuals, families and their communities. Massachusetts has time-tested talent and service and program successes that can serve as essential building blocks in this critically needed reform. Signed by:
Association for Behavioral Healthcare
Center for Public Representation
Children’s Mental Health Campaign
Disability Law Center
Health Law Advocates
Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.
Massachusetts Association for Mental Health
Massachusetts Psychiatric Society
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts
The Transformation Center