Breaking Down Mental Health Advocacy: What It Is and Why It Matters

ESH Blog
Breaking Down Mental Health Advocacy: What It Is and Why It Matters
Young person speaking into a megaphone with others smiling and supporting them.
Young person speaking into a megaphone with others smiling and supporting them.

Mental health matters! That’s why, at Horizon Foundation, we’re championing a local movement in Howard County to raise awareness about mental health and the need to fund mental health services, such as mental health counseling in our children’s schools. As an emotional support human, you can make a difference by advocating for mental health.

Mental Health Advocacy

So, what exactly is mental health advocacy? It involves promoting the human rights of people with mental health concerns to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase funding for mental health services. Advocacy comes in many forms, but it can be as simple as joining a coalition like Mental Health Matters to collaborate with like-minded individuals and groups to amplify the message and impact of advocacy efforts.

Impact of Mental Health Advocates

Mental health advocacy has so many benefits! If you know someone who is personally experiencing mental health challenges, your advocacy may demonstrate your care for them and help improve their access to mental health services. And it may help you too, knowing that you are doing something positive to support them. Additionally, advocacy has positive impacts beyond your immediate sphere of friends and family. These impacts include:

  • Raising awareness
  • Supporting individuals
  • Fostering community
  • Empowering others

These positive impacts can help create a more supportive and inclusive community for all individuals, regardless of their mental health status.

How to Become a Mental Health Advocate

As an emotional support human, you can easily become a mental health advocate. You just need to have desire to affect change and make an impact within the mental health community.

Join a Coalition

Join a coalition like Mental Health Matters. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. With Mental Health Matters, Howard County has a dynamic group of people who care about mental health, know how to advocate for it, and welcome newcomers. Being part of a coalition means you’ll get introduced to priority issues and learn skills for advocating for them. Best of all, a coalition amplifies the individual voices, so you accomplish more together as a team than you might individually.

Share Your Story

Consider sharing your story if you have a personal mental health experience. You can also share the experiences of your loved ones (with permission, of course). This can be done through a blog, social media, speaking engagements, letter writing, or telling us your story! Storytelling is a powerful tool, but please know it is just one option – if you feel comfortable getting personal.

Why is storytelling so powerful? Sharing your story during advocacy humanizes the need for mental health support. Sharing your story is also a reminder that there is light, healing, and hope throughout this journey while shattering stereotypes and the stigma associated with mental health. There are real people behind the data. Mental health funding makes a difference for real people’s stories – maybe yours.

Ready, Set, Advocate!

Now that you’ve learned about mental health advocacy, its benefits, and how you can become an advocate by joining the Mental Health Matters coalition, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use. Your voice matters and so does the cause. For more advocating best practices and how to continue to make an impact in your loved one’s lives and the mental health community, check out our previous article, 3 Ways to Advocate for Mental Health in Howard County.

Emotional Support Human is a Horizon Foundation campaign that inspires Howard County residents to reach out and support their loved ones who live with emotional and mental health challenges. Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, call 988.

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