The bottom line is that mental illness and addiction issues are too big to be tackled on our own. Ultimately, mental health advocates need other mental health advocates to create a unified front in the fight against mental illness and addiction. The iconic human rights leader and author, Booker T. Washington, said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” That is exactly what we must do when we work with and support other mental health advocates.
What Does It Mean to Be a Mental Health Advocate?
Mental health advocacy does not need to be overcomplicated. There is a serious mental health issue out there, and we need to take action to combat it.
Many people may not even realize how prevalent the mental health issue in the United States is. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year, [and] 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.” Also, “Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14.”
With statistics like these, there should be little doubt about the need for mental health advocates. However, the key is not to get discouraged by statistics like these, but rather to get inspired to act. That action should first take place by connecting to other mental health advocates.
How to Connect to Other Mental Health Advocates in Person
It can be a bit daunting when we first start considering how to connect to other mental health advocates. This is especially true if we have never been involved in any area of the mental health industry before. The good news is that there are plenty of places to meet other mental health advocates.
The key to meeting other mental health advocates is to start locally. Individuals can investigate if there are mental health support groups in their area. One way to find this out is to reach out to local recovery or community centers. Another way to find out is to connect with local recovery groups (such as 12-Step groups). They may have people within their organization who are mobilized to be mental health advocates, or they will at least know who to connect with. Another way to connect to other mental health advocates is through online support groups for mental health and on social media platforms.
How to Connect to Other Mental Health Advocates Online
There are many online support groups for mental health. A simple Google search of “mental health support groups” brings up many viable options to connect to other mental health advocates. The search will also, most likely, be localized to a specific zip code. Thus, it can also connect individuals to in-person groups in their area.
There are also many helpful recovery centers online that are generally more than happy to connect mental health advocates to one another. They also often have platforms and initiatives that need volunteers as well. At The Phoenix Recovery Center, we are always available to field phone calls and emails from people seeking advice and resources.
How to Connect to Other Mental Health Advocates Both in and Out of Recovery
There is also a difference in how we connect to other mental health advocates depending on whether or not we are in recovery ourselves. For example, if we are in recovery, we tend to have much more access to other people via our group therapy or mental health or addiction meetings. Being part of a recovery center alumni group also gives us unique access to help others.
However, that does not make people who are not in recovery any less effective as mental health advocates. Their outside perspective is often very beneficial. Generally, the best way to be effective mental health advocates is to have a diverse coalition of people both in and out of recovery. Remember, all of us are uniquely qualified in one way or another to help someone who is struggling. We just need to keep working to find that individual that needs our help.
The Importance of Mental Health Advocacy at The Phoenix Recovery Center
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we know that the more people out there advocating for mental health, the better off this world will be. That is why we take it upon ourselves to advocate for those both inside and outside our recovery center every day. We know that mental illness is a serious issue, and that is why we are serious about ending it.
It can be difficult to find other people around us who want to advocate for mental health as well. However, there are online and in-person recovery communities that can help make this happen. Connecting to others through operations like National Recovery Month and Mental Health Awareness Month is also a great way to meet other mental health advocates. If you feel like you or someone you love is struggling with issues of addiction or mental illness, we can help. Also, if you need help becoming a mental health advocate, we can help. For more information on connecting with other mental health advocates, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.