Advocacy Action Center
Be the Change for MFT in Georgia
Welcome to your hub for advocacy! The Advocacy Action Center is your go-to resource for staying informed and actively participating in shaping the future of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) in Georgia.
Urgent Call to Action
SB 373 has made significant progress, having unanimously passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and is anticipated for a full Senate vote soon.
This legislation is critical for enhancing access to mental health care in Georgia by simplifying licensure portability for Marriage and Family Therapists. Our collective voice is crucial at this juncture to ensure the passage of SB 373, promising to help alleviate the dire shortage of mental health professionals in our state and improve mental health care access. This effort is also aligned with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s (AAMFT) MFT Access national initiative, aiming to enhance portability and, in turn, ensure more consistent and widespread recognition of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) across the country.
We urge all GAMFT members to actively participate by reaching out to your state senators through the AAMFT advocacy online portal. Your engagement is vital in advocating for a change that will not only benefit our profession but also the countless individuals in need of mental health services across Georgia.
2024 Legislative Advocacy Efforts
This year, GAMFT’s advocacy efforts are focused on increasing mental health care access for Georgians through licensure portability.
This session, we are proposing legislation that strengthens and protects the quality of care provided by marriage and family therapists licensed in Georgia and increase access to critically needed mental health professionals. This legislation is Senate Bill (SB) 373.
- Read our latest fact sheet
- Read the full bill
- Review what was covered in our Legislative Advocacy Day presentation on January 26, 2024
SB 373 was presented at the Senate Regulated Industry Committee hearing held on Jan 25th at 3pm. It passed unanimously and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
The lead sponsor of legislation is Larry Walker, chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance and Labor and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. He also serves as Secretary of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and on Rules, and as ex-officio on the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and on Retirement. Thank you to Senator Walker and every other sponsor. See the full list here.
This legislation is also supported by AAMFT, Georgia Mountains Health, Chris180, the University of Valdosta, and the Georgia Supportive Housing Association, Resilient Georgia, Georgians for a Healthy Future, and Voices for Children.
Special thank you to our grassroots organizers! Ramona Beasley, Marley Lentine-Brown, Maria Woods, Jan Paris, Jennifer Wilmoth, Marci J. Gallagher, and Leticia Hill.
Getting Started with Advocacy: Your Four-Step Guide
- Locate Your Legislators
- Find your state Senator and Representative here.
- Understanding who represents you is the first step in effective advocacy.
- Introduce Yourself
- Reach out via email to your legislators.
- Use the provided template below to introduce yourself as a mental health provider and a proud member of GAMFT.
Subject: Introduction from a Local MFT
Hello [Senator X/Representative Y],
My name is [Your Name], and I am [Your Title: e.g., a licensed marriage and family therapist] in your district. As a member of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, I’m actively involved in issues that impact mental and behavioral health services in Georgia. I look forward to your support and will keep in touch regarding important legislative matters.
Sincerely, [Your Name & Title]
- Engage with Our Calls to Action:
- Stay alert for emails from GAMFT during the legislative session.
- Timing is crucial. We will guide you on when to contact legislators, who to reach out to, and provide scripts and tips for effective communication.
- Check back here for real-time requests from the GAMFT legislative committee.
- Responding to Legislators
- Be prepared for both receiving and not receiving a response. Remember, persistence and professionalism are key.
- If you receive a response, continue the dialogue politely and professionally. It’s okay not to have all the answers immediately; assure them you will get the necessary information.
Your Contribution Matters!
Every action you take, every email you send, contributes to our collective voice. Together, we’re strengthening the field of Marriage and Family Therapy in Georgia.
Be an advocate, be a change-maker!
Register for our weekly 10am Friday Zoom drop-in meetings hosted by David Blanchard throughout 2024 Legislative Session, where you can learn more about our advocacy efforts and how to get involved. Click here to register!