Updated: Jul 7, 2020
According to Study.com, self-advocacy is the process of speaking up for yourself and your needs, and, if the situation calls for it, also doing what you need to, to make sure your needs are met. Sometimes you only have yourself to speak for yourself when it comes to your mental health. If this is the case, continue reading because I am giving you 10 ways to self-advocate for your mental health!
Practice Self-Care - what better way to advocate for your mental health than taking your meds, going to therapy, eating well, getting rest etc. Following the treatment plan(s) your doctor(s) has suggested is the ultimate way to to meet your needs
Become Self-Aware - take time to be honest with yourself, get to know yourself and who you are. What is that you like or dislike, are you shy or outspoken, are you an introvert or an extrovert. Being self-aware will help you figure out what it is you want to get from your treatments, medication, therapist etc
Decide What You Want - part of self-advocacy is knowing what exactly it is that you want to advocate for. Once you have a good sense of self, you should know what it is that you need. Knowing what you want will also help you communicate your needs to others
Identify Who You Need to Help You - who are the people, persons or organization that needs to help get your need(s) met? This can take some effort, so make sure you keep trying until you get the right person/organtization. Also, the person you need to help you may not be a professional, it could just be a supportive friend or family member.
Get Informed - in order to make an informed decision, make sure you have done your research and you know all the facts. If your doctor wants to put you on a different medication, research it! Find out what it costs, is it covered under your insurance, what are the side effects, talk to people who have been on it. Being informed will help you formulate your thoughts, questions and/or concerns. If you need help with this, here’s a FREE worksheet that will help!
Be Confident - you know who you are, you know what you want and you’ve done your research. You got this!
Be Assertive - speak with authority, but be respectful. Be firm, but humble. Be persistent, but not nagging. Make sure you are respectful and listen to what others have to say and take what is said into consideration. Click HERE to read the blog post, #LikeABoss on how to be assertive
Find Support - when advocating for yourself, it would be helpful to have the support of friends and family that have similar issues. You can also bring them along to an appointment if you need to
Know Your Rights - there are certain rights you are entitled to as a patient. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with them before you meet with your doctor. Remember, the more informed you are the better! Click HERE for a list of patient rights from the American Medical Association
Plan A Strategy - using the information you gathered, plan a strategy that you feel would work to get your needs met. Think a few ways to address any issues. Ask others for their suggestions and give you feedback. Choose the plan that you feel has the best chance of being successful. Click HERE for the FREE worksheet that will help you form a strategy
The month of January has been all about improving oneself via making goals, setting boundaries, being assertive and learning how to advocate for yourself. I hope the posts and worksheets have made a difference and that you are starting to see a change in your life. My hope is that you have become more confident in your ability to stand up for yourself.
Remember Brown Girl! You got this and you are not alone!
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*I am not a licensed therapist. This post does not serve as a form of therapy or diagnosis. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or your doctor.