Overview: Using new research, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) wanted policymakers and health systems to adopt policies that would shorten the time between the identification and the treatment of first-episode psychosis (FEP). The effort coincided with a push to sustain a federal commitment to a five percent set-aside for FEP programs in the Mental Health Block Grant Program.

Approach: Prior to the release of a major study, JPA conducted a deskside briefing for senior Washington Post editors with experts from NAMI and the federal government’s National Institute of Mental Health. JPA also provided a sneak peek to New York Times reporters and secured an interview with a young spokesperson who received services through an FEP program run by NAMI’s medical director. Policymakers were further targeted through a Capitol Hill briefing featuring Members of Congress and key legislative staff.

Results: The program enhanced NAMI’s reputation as the go-to source for mental health news and a leading advocate on policy issues. Ultimately more than 271,000,000 million media impressions were achieved, and most importantly, multiple commitments from elected officials and Congressional staff helped prioritize FEP and sustained a commitment to the five percent set-aside in block grant funding.