State-Level Work

Ohio Statehouse

Along with the MHAC’s two regional Hubs in Northeast and Southwest Ohio, the MHAC has a Columbus office to advocate at the state-level. State-level work gives MHAC members the opportunity to advocate on policy and issues with members of the General Assembly and the administration. As a diverse coalition, the MHAC brings local and statewide voices together to advocate on state issues with a broader voice and message surrounding behavioral health advocacy.

Meetings & Events

The MHAC hosts bi-monthly State Policy & Advocacy Committee meetings which all members are able to attend via online conferencing. Annually, this Committee meets in person in Columbus to strengthen our membership across regions and meet with lawmakers, state agency directors, and sister organizations.

During the state operating budget, which is the largest funding and policy bill introduced each General Assembly, the MHAC organizes an advocacy day called MHAC Day at the Statehouse to advocate for mental health and addiction disorder policy and funding initiatives.

The MHAC is one of three statewide organizations to sponsor the Legislative Mental Health Caucus, a group of legislators who are champions that meet to discuss and address mental health issues with effective public policy.

Similar to its regional Hubs, the MHAC’s state-level work is guided by a State-Level Advocacy Agenda, which is developed by MHAC members to address issues key mental health and addiction disorder issues. The agenda outlines the State Program and Policy Director’s work for a two-year period that coincides with terms of the General Assembly.

The State-Level Advocacy Agenda for 2019-2020 priorities include:

  • Implementation of Behavioral Health Redesign and move to Managed Care – The MHAC is a resource to members during the implementation of the Redesign and is a voice at the state-level to address ongoing challenges from significant changes to the system.
  • State Support and Funding for Mental Health and Addiction Policies and Initiatives – The MHAC and its members actively advocate for policy related to behavioral health and state funding to improve the lives of those impacted by mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Ensure Access to Healthcare – The MHAC supports healthcare through advocating for accessibility for all populations in the Medicaid program and insurance parity for behavioral health treatment services.
  • Building Relationships with Public Officials – The MHAC educates public officials on mental health and substance use disorders, connects MHAC members with lawmakers, and advocates in the legislative process to build relationships, reduce stigma, and raise awareness.
  • Workforce Development – The MHAC focuses on strengthening workforce development by working with state agencies such as higher education, Medicaid, and Mental Health and Addiction Services to address this challenge from all angels at the state-level.

Other ways members are included in state-level work:

  • Members are informed of opportunities to engage in the legislative process.
  • MHAC staff supports members in testifying or preparing written testimony and letters of support on legislation during the budget and on legislation related to behavioral health.
  • Members have the opportunity to meet with legislators on issues of importance.
  • MHAC staff can assist members with scheduling a tour and meeting at their organization with their state senator or representative.
  • Members have the opportunity to attend meetings with state agencies to provide valuable insight on issues such as the procurement of new managed care contracts, workforce, and the Behavioral Health Redesign.

All members are able to participate in state-level work.

Interested in becoming a MHAC member? Read more about who can become a member on our Join Us page.