3 Ways to Advocate for Mental Health in Howard County

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3 Ways to Advocate for Mental Health in Howard County

No one should struggle with mental health challenges alone, and everyone who seeks or needs help deserves to receive it. That is why we should advocate for mental health – whether we are struggling with it ourselves or know someone that is struggling with it. Doing so helps create a Howard County where quality mental health care and resources are available for us and our loved ones. And always remember that advocacy is a journey and can be done anytime, even when there’s not an active need to check in on a family member. Every step we take is a step forward and helps bring change to our community.

In this post, we will define advocacy and mental health, and explore 3 ways you too can advocate for mental health in Howard County.

Why should you advocate for mental health?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health issues affect 1 in 5 Americans every year. So, you likely know a loved one that is struggling with mental health challenges or you might be experiencing it yourself. Anyone struggling with mental health challenges should have access to the right supports where and when they need them. This is where advocacy comes in.  

Advocacy helps raise awareness, influence positive changes, and provides resources and services for those in need and those looking to help loved ones. By using your voice to advocate, you are creating a safe space for people to talk about their problems and seek help without feeling alone or judged. They are also reminded that there is light, hope, and healing at the end of their journey.

3 Ways you can advocate for mental health in Howard County

So, you’ve decided to advocate for mental health in your local community in Howard County but aren’t sure how to start? No worries, we have you covered. There are many forms of advocacy including self-advocacy, peer advocacy, group advocacy, policy advocacy, and public advocacy. These are just some of the many ways that you can advocate!

  1. Sign this petition for enhanced set of mental health support in Howard County schools

    Currently, all schools in Howard County have a set of mental health services that are available to all students, but only 60% of schools possess an enhanced set of support that includes counseling services. However, Howard County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball announced early this year nearly $2 million in new funding to bring these enhanced resources to all Howard County schools over the next two years. To make sure this moves forward and demand that all students in Howard County will receive enhanced mental health support, sign this petition today!
  2. Meet with candidates
    A second way to advocate for mental health is to meet with local candidates in Howard County, since, if elected, they will be making decisions that will impact mental health care in the future. You won’t even have to hold your own meeting with a candidate; the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is always looking for people to talk with candidates about mental health. NAMI encourages you to contact candidates and invite them to a NAMI meeting or event. NAMI also provides directions on how you can introduce yourself to candidates, talk about mental health priorities, listen and respond, and follow up.
  3. Write to elected officials
    Write to elected officials demanding better mental health resources and service. You can write an email, letter, or postcard explaining your experiences with mental health, your loved one’s experiences (with permission of course), or communicating why mental health resources and services are needed. Take a moment to look up who are your Howard County representatives. Prior to reaching out, a great first step is to register to vote, if you haven’t already.

Your voice matters

Continue to advocate and show up for your loved ones because everyone deserves to receive mental health support. Even if you’re still not sure how to use your voice, know that different people have different ways of approaching advocacy, and it can be as simple as signing a petition. Let us all do our part by creating a stigma-free and welcoming mental health community in Howard County.

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