In 2022, the White House released a statement that addressed the issues with mental health care in the U.S. It read, “Our country faces an unprecedented mental health crisis among people of all ages. Two out of five adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression. And, Black and Brown communities are disproportionately under-treated – even as their burden of mental illness has continued to rise.” This statement is just a reminder of the increasing need for proactive, productive, and positive mental health advocates.
Helping Loved Ones Get the Help They Need Right Now
In the same statement, the White House also addressed the new issues facing mental illness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It clarified, “Even before the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety were inching higher. But the grief, trauma, and physical isolation of the last two years have driven Americans to a breaking point.” This “breaking point” is exemplary of why effective mental health advocates are needed more than ever.
However, while it is critical to address the needs of the broader mental health community, it is important to remember that advocacy can start in the home. If needed, it should start with the family, especially if there are family members who are struggling.
Mental Illness Is a “Family Disease”
Most professionals in the recovery field now agree that issues of mental health and addiction aren’t just individual diseases, but “family diseases.” What this means is that these issues don’t just affect the individual, but they often ripple out and cause chaos and destruction in the lives of everyone that is in the individual’s personal orbit.
When this happens, it is important that the entire family act in order to heal. This involves getting both the family and the individual the therapy and mental health care.
Family members who have dealt with issues of mental illness in the home become uniquely qualified to also become mental health advocates. Not all advocates need previous experience with a mental illness. However, experiencing mental illness through a loved one is the perfect training ground to becoming an advocate.
How to Find Other Mental Health Advocates
The good news is that there are many qualified mental health advocates out there with the primary purpose of helping people who are struggling. Now, the key is to know where to look. Some more good news is that because of the internet, there are more options and ways to connect with other mental health advocates than ever before.
There are resources online to connect to mental health advocates that are in government agencies, recovery clinics, treatment centers, volunteer outreach organizations, and programs that are run by recovery peers. Of course, there are also more traditional options such as reaching out to local community centers, recovery programs (such as 12-Step meetings), and connecting to mental health telephone helplines.
What Makes Effective Mental Health Advocates
Mental health advocates are people who care first and foremost. Unfortunately, there are many websites and social media influencers that are more concerned about financial gain and online followers than actually helping people. So it is important to do some due diligence to ensure the people or institutions you are engaging with represent have noble intentions of helping people as well as hold proper accreditations.
Effective mental health advocates are also going to be fully integrated into the community, as well as positively representing recovery in the area. This may look like volunteering at a local outreach center, organizing various fundraisers and mental health awareness events, and connecting with council members and politicians to promote and address mental health issues.
Becoming a mental health advocate and connecting with other mental health advocates also means being available for others to reach out to. This is the cyclical nature of advocacy. Once an individual has the information to help others, it is critical to get that same helpful, potentially life-saving, information out to as many people as possible.
Always Advocating for Our Clients: The Phoenix Recovery Center
The 2020 White House rollout of mental health strategies announced that it aims to “connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support – transforming our health and social services infrastructure to address mental health holistically and equitably.” Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we share these same ideals and values.
Since we opened, our primary purpose has always been to advocate for those who struggle with issues of mental health. From people just starting on their mental health advocacy journey to those in the White House, it is good to know that others share that same purpose.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental illness, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. For more information on how The Phoenix Recovery Center can provide individualized diagnosis and care, call us today at (801) 438-3185.