Frequently Asked Questions: Advocacy and Concerned Fairfax
What is the foundation and guiding philosophy of Concerned groups?
What does the advocacy function of Concerned groups look like in action?
Who is a part of Concerned groups? How do I become a member?
What is discussed in Concerned group meetings?
Who runs the meetings and how do they proceed?
What is the relationship between Concerned groups and NAMI Northern Virginia?
Our goal is to advocate for people in the community who have been affected by mental health conditions and/or substance use. We provide a forum for community members to discuss their concerns and an opportunity to develop strategies to try to improve the situations for people living with mental health or substance use conditions. Members are looking for ways to make positive change through advocacy. Our organization is one of collaboration, with members learning from each other as we work.
We begin with discussions in our meetings, drawing on our own experiences and concerns. We identify and agree on the priority tasks that we want to focus on. We take vague expressions of dissatisfaction and turn them into action. We are a grassroots organization that provides opportunities for each member to make their own path to successful advocacy in issues they, and the rest of the group, are passionate about.
Concerned groups are sustained groups of passionate community members committed to raising awareness and local advocacy. Our membership is 100% voluntary, free and open to individuals, family members and other who care about people living with a mental health or substance use condition. When you come to a meeting, you will sign in and promptly be put on our mailing list for information and events. We always strive to expand our membership so our goal is to let people know we exist and that we are open to hearing their voice.
We work to agree on where the challenges are, related mental health/substance use conditions and community services; law enforcement and the justice system; and youth and families. Once we agree on a concern or challenge under one of these interest areas, we brainstorm ways to address the challenges and seek to identify plausible solutions.
There are two co-chairs who facilitate the meetings. An agenda provides order for the meeting and gives people a chance to talk in a structured setting. The meetings occur monthly. Meeting details can be found on our each jurisdiction's Concerned group page.
Concerned groups are local advocacy groups of NAMI Northern Virginia. Each group focuses on issues affecting their county or city, as well as supporting regional, state and national advocacy efforts. We do the advocacy work on the ground.