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When it comes to mental health and family, there are many dynamics that individuals often have to navigate. Part of these dynamics has to do with being your own mental health advocate. The family needs to understand that you are serious about your recovery and mental illness remission, and the only way that they are going to know that is by showing them what you are doing and what you expect from them.

How to Be Your Own Mental Health Advocate

When it comes to mental health self-advocacy, the first thing to remember is that your own well-being must always come first. Many people struggle with this because they feel as though it may come across as “selfish.” However, it’s important to remember if you don’t protect your own peace and recovery, and you relapse and/or lose your mental illness remission, then everyone will be negatively affected.

Part of self advocacy mental health also has to do with being vocal about what you need from others. Sometimes, because we have done so much work on our recovery, we mistakenly think that everyone else is on the same page as us. Most likely, people are unaware of what our mental health needs are, not because they don’t care, but simply because they don’t know. We need to be comfortable in communicating what they are. This can be especially true when it comes to family.

How to Be Your Own Mental Health Advocate With Family

When it comes to ways to advocate for yourself with your family, the same rules apply that were just previously mentioned. However, the rules tend to be a little more personalized and they need to be adhered to a little more forcefully. After all, we are often around our family more than anyone else, so we have to be able to feel safe and comfortable with them.

There is a difference in advocating for yourself when you are in need of help and when you are in recovery. If you need mental health help, and you are able, you need to be your own mental health advocate and ask your family for help. If they are unavailable to help, it is crucial to reach out to someone who can. This may be a primary care doctor, a therapist, or a community or recovery center. The key is to get help as soon as possible. 

Ways to Advocate for Yourself in Recovery

If you are in recovery, you must be your own mental health advocate so you can continue towards your goalsstay recovered. The good news is that there are many helpful and effective ways to do this.

The first way to be your own mental health advocate is to request/require that the home you share remain a safe space. This may mean you request no alcohol or illicit substances in the house (or at least while you are present), that there be no physicality in the house, and that there be no stigmatizing language in the house. Doing this is also part of setting boundaries with family.

Setting boundaries with family is an important part of advocating for your own mental health. Boundaries essentially are rules that have set consequences if they are not followed. For example, if someone is being aggressive in the home and not respecting your personal space, an appropriate rule/boundary to set would be that they give you space until they are ready to resolve any issues via healthy composed conversation, or even through mediated therapy. 

Ways to Advocate for Others in Recovery

It is also important to advocate for other family members now that you are in recovery as well. Family members have likely been affected by your mental health issues and deserve some healing as well.

Part of advocating for them while you are in recovery is offering to attend family therapy and being willing to continue your own therapy if they feel that it is helping you (and them). It is also important to allow them to set boundaries for you, and to respect those boundaries. For example, if you have a mental health or addiction relapse and the boundary is that you reach back out to the recovery center for help, you must do that. Advocacy can go both ways.

Helping You Be Your Own Mental Health Advocate at The Phoenix Recovery Center

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we understand the importance of self advocacy mental health. That is why we offer all of the clients the tools and the resources they need to protect themselves before they leave the recovery center. 

We also make ourselves available for anyone who needs help after they finish treatment with us. Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination, and advocating for the best journey possible is what healthy, successful recovery is all about.

Advocating for your own mental health is one thing, but doing so with family can be more complex. It is important to set boundaries and protect your mental wellness while in the home. Being open about your mental health issues, eliminating triggers in the home, and cutting out those who are unwilling to take your illness seriously is also a big part of being your own mental health advocate with your family. If you feel like you may be struggling with addiction or with your recovery, we can help get you back on track. For more information on how to navigate family dynamics in recovery, 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