MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY
Mental Health Advocacy provides education, advocacy, information and referral to the community on behavioral health issues. The Anti-Stigma sub-committee endeavors to create awareness of stigma and works to lessen it. The North Country Mental Health Players are volunteer performers of all ages who present various life issues with a goal of stimulating an exchange of ideas on relevant topics. The group serves local businesses, schools, municipalities and organizations.
The concept of mental health advocacy has been developed to promote the human rights of persons with mental disorders and to reduce stigma and discrimination. It consists of various actions aimed at changing the major structural and attitudinal barriers to achieving positive mental health outcomes in populations.
Advocacy in this field began when the families of people with mental disorders first made their voices heard. People with mental disorders then added their own contributions. Gradually, these people and their families were joined and supported by a range of organizations, many mental health workers and their associations, and some governments. Recently, the concept of advocacy has been broadened to include the needs and rights of persons with mild mental disorders and the mental health needs and rights of the general population.
Advocacy is considered to be one of the eleven areas for action in any mental health policy because of the benefits that it produces for people with mental disorders and their families. The advocacy movement has substantially influenced mental health policy and legislation in some countries and is believed to be a major force behind the improvement of services in others. In several places it is also responsible for an increased awareness of the role of mental health in the quality of life of populations.
The concept of advocacy contains the following principal elements:
- Mutual help
Importance of Mental Health Advocacy
The emergence of mental health advocacy movements has helped to change society’s perceptions of persons with mental disorders. Consumers have begun to articulate their own visions of the services they need. They are increasingly able to make informed decisions about treatment and other matters in their daily lives. Consumer and family participation in advocacy organizations may also have several positive outcomes.
Need help guiding our Mental Health Advocacy services?
Those interested in learning more about our Mental Health Advocacy (MHA) services should contact our program supervisor.