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There is a very crucial element of mental illness and addiction recovery that many people on the outside may not be aware of: acts of service. Acts of service are how we can ensure that people in our lives get well again. This service need not just end at family, friends, and co-workers; service and mental health advocacy can also expand into becoming a community health advocate. By ensuring that everyone in the community is taken care of, we are also ensuring that no one is left to fend for themselves against the devastating disease of mental illness. No one deserves that. So then, “What does becoming a community health advocate look like?”

What Does Mental Health Advocacy Look Like?

Mental health advocacy can come in many forms, and it can be performed by almost anyone. The primary purpose of mental health advocacy is to bring awareness to the issues that people with mental illness face every day.

These issues include the stigmas surrounding mental illness that are still unfortunately present in modern-day society. These are stigmas such as the use of language like “crazy” and “addict.” There are also stigmas surrounding mental illness and addiction regarding them as choices rather than the chronic diseases they are. Additionally, there is the stigma that one cannot fully recover from mental illness or addiction. All of these are simply not true (which is, of course, why they are appropriately labeled as stigmas).

When asked, “What does mental health advocacy look like?” the answer ultimately is that it looks compassionate and it looks active. It also looks expansive, which is why it should include advocating for ourselves (if needed), advocating for those close to us, and becoming a community health advocate as well.

What Does A Community Health Advocate Look Like?

There are many ways to become a community health advocate. Many people may not even be aware of the mental health advocacy foundations that already exist in their community. 

It can be helpful to seek out local community centers, treatment facilities, recovery groups, and harm-reduction hubs that may already be present in the community. These types of places are often underfunded and could always use volunteers. Additionally, reaching out to local politicians and bringing awareness to the mental health needs in the community can help to eventually generate more funding for these types of institutions.

If these types of mental health facilities are lacking in the local community, there are plenty of places to go online to connect with other people who are participating in their community as mental health advocates. There are also options to start online networks that can help garner support for more resources for mental health awareness in the community. In this instance, not only do we become a community health advocate, but we also become community leaders in mental health advocacy.

What Does Mental Health Advocacy Look Like While in Recovery?

Many people may be familiar with the concept of “putting on your own oxygen mask first before you can safely assist others.” The same is true when it comes to being a community health advocate while in recovery. Before we can properly advocate for someone else’s or our community’s mental health, we must first be in a safe and secure mental health state ourselves.

Now, this does not mean that we must wait until we are in a “perfect” place in our mental health or addiction recovery to help others. After all, recovery ebbs and flows, so we should understand that even on days when we are not feeling our best, we can go out and be a mental health advocate for someone, as well as a community health advocate. It is on days like these when helping someone else may do the most good for our well-being.

Being a mental health advocate while in recovery is very important because those of us who have already been through, and are still going through recovery can be an example of how well the recovery process works. We can also take that knowledge and become a community health advocate and teach our community leaders what they need to help others like us. Ultimately, helping others while in recovery, is taking what we once thought was our greatest “weakness” and turning it into our greatest “asset” – an asset that we can use to save lives.

What Does Mental Health Advocacy Look Like With The Phoenix Recovery Center?

Helping others is the bedrock of recovery. This is why we make it our primary purpose to be there for anyone anywhere who seeks help.

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we strive to be a community health advocate as well as mental health advocates and offer help to anyone interested in becoming a mental health advocate. This includes those in our local community and beyond. 

If you feel like you or a loved one needs help and/or wants to become a mental health advocate, we can help make that happen. For more information on what it means to be a mental health advocate in your local community, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT