JUSTICE IN MENTAL HEALTH ORGANIZATION

ADVOCACY

Webster's Dictionary defines advocacy as:

The act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal.
 
No matter what issue you are dealing with, advocating is always an important part of getting something accomplished.  Whether on a small scale such as getting a basketball hoop erected in a village park, to backing public national policies, and even educating people about certain issues, your voice and opinions are important.  If we do not speak up, our voices will not be heard and the people involved in the decision-making process will remain unaware of what what problems are out there and what needs to be accomplished. 

There are several ways to advocate on issues.  The first would be to contact your legislators.  These individuals are elected to make decisions on a local, state, and even national level.  Issues such as Health Policy, Corrections, and Education are a large part of what is dealt with by the state and national legislators. 

Another way to advocate is through education.  Providing workshops, speaking engagements, etc. can be very effective as you can reach a great deal of people at one time.  For example, this is how word has spread regarding Peer-Run organizations and Peer-Support Specialists working within the local community mental health agencies.  People can also be educated through simple conversations among friends, relatives, or colleagues.  Every interaction we have with someone can be used as an educational opportunity. 

Literature can also be used as an advocacy tool. Books, fliers, pamphlets, websites, etc. are all useful tools to reach those who might not be comfortable meeting face to face, attending a workshop, or getting out in the community. 

So whatever your favorite tool for advocacy, go ahead and use it.  What you have to say is important and if you do not get your issue out in the open, nothing would ever be done about it. 

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