The American Art Therapy Association is committed to engaging, both at the state and national levels, in legislative and regulatory initiatives that move the profession forward and/or support the well-being of art therapists and the clients they serve. Through collaborations with chapters and other organizations, the Association seeks to promote public awareness, increased availability, and appropriate regulation of art therapy services and to support advocacy efforts within our wider communities of behavioral health providers, the arts, and education services.


The AATA is committed to allocating resources wisely to participate in collaborations with organizations that share common interests in health care, the arts and education support services. Through collaborations with groups such as the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG), Americans for the Arts (AftA), National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP), National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA), and others, the Association engages on national legislation and regulatory issues to express the interests and concerns of art therapists and the client groups they serve. Click the button below for a list of our collaborators.


AATA is proud to be a Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) member, in the company of our friends from dozens of mental health associations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the American Dance Therapy Association. Participation enables the AATA to stay apprised of critical legislation affecting the communities served by art therapists and to attend MHLG monthly meetings, Congressional briefings, educational seminars, and related events throughout the year.

AATA also attends monthly meetings with the National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) to remain aware and engaged in legislation affecting students both at the lower-school-level that may relate to school-based art therapy services and in higher education that may impact students in art therapy programs.


With our partnerships and collaborators, the AATA participates in a number of annual advocacy events including:


The AATA partners with the Americans for the Arts each year for their Arts Advocacy Day, a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

For more details, read our annual reports in Art Therapy Today:


AATA joins the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a National Collaborating Organization for their annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event.  In honor of the 2018 theme, “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma,” the AATA collaborated with the SAMHSA team to produce a video showcasing art therapy as a trauma-informed discipline.

Throughout the month of May, representatives of the AATA participate in Mental Health Awareness Month Briefings on Capitol Hill to help raise awareness about mental health issues and educate legislators and staff on how policies can reflect best-practice care.

Read More


Each year the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA) promotes the third week in March when creative arts therapists and organizations sponsor events such as special workshops, exhibitions, and career days to highlight their work to the public and to other professionals.


To enhance our influence on federal legislation, the AATA collaborates with leading national organizations and coalitions to present a united and more powerful voice on national issues involving health care, the arts, and education.

Recent national issues addressed in letters by the AATA and its partner organizations include:

  • October 20, 2018: Letter supporting plaintiffs in lawsuit challenging the administration’s Final Rule authorizing Short Term Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI) plans, which undercuts ACA reforms, particularly mental health and substance use disorder parity coverage.
  • September 21, 2018: Letter urging congressional leaders to include Section 1003 of H.R. 6, the Demonstration Project to Increase Substance Use Provider Capacity Under the Medicaid Program, as they finalize legislation to address the opioid epidemic.
  • August 6, 2018: Letter urging the Federal Bureau of Prisons to more seriously consider gender identity when making housing decisions and revert to the previous language in the Transgender Offender Manual.
  • August 2, 2018: Letter supporting the Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2018, S. 3337.
  • August 1, 2018: Letter responding to misguided remarks about mental health in higher institutions made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Turning Points USA High School Leadership Summit.
  • July 26, 2018: Letter urging the Senate to expeditiously take up a comprehensive legislative package to address the opioid crisis.
  • July 23, 2018: Letter opposing cuts by Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services to the Navigator program, which is critical to educating the public about health insurance options.
  • July 12, 2018: Letter urging Congress to reject renewed efforts to roll back the expansion in coverage and consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act, such as a recent proposal to eliminate Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and replace them with an under-funded block grant to states.
  • June 12, 2018: Letter to congresspeople opposing the Zero Tolerance policy.
  • May 7, 2018: Letter opposing the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) fiscal year 2019 budget request proposing to use regulatory authority to change Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) from a mandatory to an optional benefit.
  • April 11, 2018: Letter supporting the Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorders Act.
  • March 22, 2018: Statement on Omnibus Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018 by the National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP).
  • February 28, 2018: Statement, “Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States,” issued by the America Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence urging a public health approach to protecting children and adults from gun violence.
  • February 23, 2018: Separate letters notifying executive departments of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) publication of the first report of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC), The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers. The letter also requests information and offers support regarding implementation.
  • February 22, 2018: Letter to the House of Representatives and letter to the Senate urging a bipartisan path forward for comprehensive legislative solutions to firearm-related injuries and fatalities.
  • February 20, 2018: Letter expressing deep concern regarding the lack of focus on minority communities, including LGBTQIA individuals, in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Draft Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022, and in subsequent actions taken by the Department.
  • December 21, 2017: Letter urging the enactment of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding for five years.
  • December 19, 2017: Letter supporting H.R. 2687 Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act.
  • December 7, 2017: Letter expressing continued opposition to provisions within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • December 5, 2017: Letter supporting H.R. 3692, the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act.
  • November 28, 2017: Letter supporting the Preventive Health Savings Act.
  • November 17, 2017: Letter opposing provisions within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, particularly the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
  • November 1, 2017: Letter thanking members for including language regarding children exposed to trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the Report to Accompany S. 1771, the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
  • October 27, 2017: Letter supporting the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017.
  • October 24, 2017: Letter supporting H.R. 3192 to ensure access to mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services for children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • October 17, 2017: Letter supporting the CONNECT for Health Act, S. 1016.
  • October 4, 2017: Letter thanking the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for leading a bipartisan effort to reform the health care system.
  • September 19, 2017: Letter expressing opposition to a Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal aimed at repealing and replacing major portions of the current health care system.
  • June 23, 2017: Letter expressing opposition to the proposed restructuring of the Medicaid program into a per capita cap block grant program and the end to Medicaid expansion in H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act.
  • June 22, 2017: Letter expressing support for the Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act.
  • May 23, 2017: letter expressing concerns regarding provisions of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
  • May 10, 2017: letter urging the funding of Title II-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • May 8, 2017: letter supporting the introduction of the Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act of 2017.
  • May 2, 2017: letter expressing concern about various provisions of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in response to proposed amendments.
  • April 28, 2017: letter urging the enactment of a long-term funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • April 24, 2017: letter suggesting the addition of behavioral health measures to the Star Ratings of the Medicare Advantage program.
  • April 3, 2017: letter urging the allocation of postpartum funding in the appropriations legislation for FY 2018.
  • March 22, 2017: letter expressing concern that the AHCA may undermine recent progress toward the “do no harm” standard for children.
  • March 21, 2017: letter expressing concerns about the negative impact AHCA would have on children through the possible elimination of school-based Medicaid programs.
  • March 17, 2017: letter expressing concern that provisions of the AHCA to restructure the Medicaid program will impact coverage of mental health services.
  • March 3, 2017: letter expressing concern that significant changes affecting Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be made without deliberations and legislative hearings.
  • March 2, 2017: letter of support for Medicaid coverage for people living with mental or substance use disorders.
  • February 28, 2017: letter supporting the introduction of H.R.1253, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017.
  • January 3, 2017: letter urging the protection of progress on parity under Addiction Equity Act (MHPEA), the ACA, and the 21st Century Cures Act in the consideration of insurance coverage reform.