Who is FFIMI?
To put it simply we are family and friends of individuals with mental illness. We are people that recognize the fullness and worth of a human being as more than their diagnosis, more than their legal status, more than their struggles. We are people who believe that support is everything, both support for each other and for our loved ones. We are people who believe in the power that proper treatment has to help individuals with mental illness live full lives. We are people who are heartbroken to see the current treatment of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system, and we are people committed to fighting for change within that system.
FFIMI has grown out of the advocacy that Donna Winant started in 2014 as she advocated for better care for her loved one who was at Bridgewater State Hospital. Over the years Donna’s vision has grown beyond just Bridgewater State Hospital to looking at the mental health care and treatment across the Massachusetts Jail and Prison System. As her advocacy continued, Donna connected with additional friends and family members who had loved ones with mental illness at Bridgewater State Hospital or elsewhere in the department of corrections system. Today the organization is guided by a committed steering committee that continues to forward and progress the mission Donna and others started seven years ago.
Looking ahead FFIMI is committed to continuing to advocate for access to care and treatment for those with mental illness. This includes continuing to meet with legislators and other prominent officials across the state of Massachusetts. FFIMI members have worked hard in supporting upcoming Bill SD.590, Guilty but with Mental Illness, and members have had the opportunity to meet with Senator Cindy Friedman as well as give statements before the legislature. There is much work that lies ahead and we are ready to face it head on.