How to Be a Mental Health Advocate
Mental health experienced huge evolution in past years. This made us see mental health with a unique perspective, but still, these changes are insufficient to break the old perception regarding mental health. That is why mental health advocates are needed in our society.
If you are someone having a keen interest in mental health and want to spread awareness regarding the same, you can easily be a mental health advocate. You just need some extra knowledge about mental health and you are good to go.
Below we have enlisted some points that will help you in your journey toward being a mental health advocate.
Who is Mental Health Advocate?
An advocate is a person who supports and represents an individual or a group on any specific topic. The term advocate is generally used in the courtroom. Now a very common question comes to every intelligent mind in why do we need an advocate in the mental health sector?
Mental health advocate is the one who wants to raise the issues of mental health in public. It is very much different from advocates who fight criminal or civil cases in court.
Responsibilities and actions of an advocate include things written below
- Spreading awareness on specific topics
- Representation of views and points of different communities, groups and organizations.
- Strategy building to influence the public on a large scale
- Researching and sharing the results to the people
- Parallel to a normal advocate, mental health advocate does the following things
- Writing blogs
- Social media awareness
- Participation in walks, marathons and other ground-level activities
It completely depends on your choice that what work you want to do as a mental health advocate. If you are someone who does not prefer interaction with people you can do all your work with internet and social media engagement.
Advocacy, Allyship and Activism
Advocacy, Allyship and Activism are three different but similar-looking words for ways of supporting any community. All of them mean working for oppressed or marginalized people but in a very different manner.
Allyship means helping personally or in the group even if you are not part of it. Allyship is boosting people voices, helping and supporting them. It also excludes public speaking or direct participation. For instance, the whole world is supporting Afghanistan but no country is directly involved in the fight.
Activism focuses on action where advocacy includes representation of thought on behalf of the community. Activism also consists of speaking but in a very small amount. Organization and participation in programs, protests, and rallies are some major elements of activism.
The similarity between activists and advocates is, they both work and aim for those who need them. A single person can play the role of both activist and advocate.
Why Do We Need Advocates in Mental Health?
Masses in our society still think having any type of mental condition means being a psychopath. People are simply named as crazy, lunatic and many more regardless of the intensity of their disease. We cannot talk about any mental illness in public just because of social fear. Mental health advocates are needed to speak about depression schizophrenia or domestic violence. They also try to make public perception dynamic and free. People suffering from mental illness are still boycotted and kept away from treatment. Awareness is the only solution for people feeling alone in their bad times. Advocate does the job by giving them information and encouraging them for treatment. Mental health advocates help people by boosting their confidence.
Steps for Becoming an Advocate
- Self-practice is the best thing you can do for being a mental health advocate. It is one of the best ways to sharpen your skills. Remember, when you are good at something you can help others more proficiently to be good at the same.
- Below are some points and tasks that will help you in becoming a mental health advocate
- Know your condition- you must understand your mental health condition to help others.
- Share your treatment- sharing your personal experience about treatment and medical history will motivate you and others as well.
- Make an action plan- study more and make plans accordingly.
- Get someone for help- ask your friends, family and colleagues for their support. Also, find out some people suffering from the same problem who can help you understand the problem.
- Develop a blog or website- to get some people who listen and follow you, make a website or blog. You can address problems coming in your life (mental health) and issues faced by people like you.
- When done at a personal level, follow these to be a mental health advocate for others
- Makeup your self-knowledge is the first step for success. You should read about related topics to make sure you deliver the right information while speaking publically or on the blog.
- Contribute- If you have some money, you can donate that to organizations for supporting their efforts and then share this effort with people around you.