Mental health care is a complex system. Laws and regulations, government budgets, and research on best practices and educational standards for various services, all create the umbrella of resources we use when we are struggling. And it is in our interest to advocate for ourselves as we seek shelter beneath that umbrella.
Self-advocacy—promoting and supporting our own interests and well-being—requires reflection and self-awareness to know what does and doesn’t work for us. Sometimes, we need the courage to say: “I don’t know what I need. Can you help me figure it out?”
Advocating for ourselves whole-heartedly entails addressing every possible layer that could affect our lives: personal, community and government. These layers have profound influences on one another, and are therefore equally important.
Here are my recommended practices for each of these layers: