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 our chapters and partnerships, 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 collaborative partnerships with organizations that share common interests in health care, the arts and education support services. Through partnerships 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 partners and 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).

The 2017 30th annual Arts Advocacy Day gathered a record number of participants – over 700 – and AATA was among the 85 cultural and civic partner groups.

For more details, read the annual reports by AATA President, Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, in Art Therapy Today:


AATA joins the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a collaborative partner in their annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event. This year, the AATA, in collaboration with the Office of Head Start and Youth M.O.V.E. National contributed a display of our “I am a work of art” digital gallery at the SAMSHA event. We gathered over 600 submissions of artwork from students based on the theme, “I am a work of art.”

Throughout the month of May, representatives of the AATA attended Mental Health Awareness Month Briefings on Capitol Hill. Event topics include mental health in the military and suicide prevention, among other important areas where the nation’s mental healthcare system can be improved.

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For more details on the AATA’s activity during Mental Health Awareness Month, read these articles in Art Therapy Today:


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:

  • 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.