So you want to be a Mental Health Advocate?
Here are some suggestions of things you can do.
The first and possibly most important part of being a Mental Health Advocate is making sure that you are open and vocal about your own mental health experiences. Whether you have struggled with mental illness or not, everyone has mental health, so everyone has something to talk about. You can have issues with your mental health without being mentally ill. But perhaps even more important is if you have struggled with mental illness – your story can be a powerful tool to help others. It’s also an opportunity to share skills that you have picked up along the way that have helped you in your recovery.
There are lots of excellent mental health charities nowadays, and all of them need financial support to keep running. Maybe you could do a sponsored walk/run, or arrange to go out into the streets with a fundraising team. If you’re feeling creative, you could even make your own products and sell them, giving the proceeds to your chosen charity. You might choose to fundraise for Mind, Sane, Rethink, or maybe even a local mental health charity in your area. They all need funding to keep doing their good work.
If you’re in a position to give some of your time to a worthy cause, why not consider volunteering for a charity like Samaritans as a listener, or offer to be part of a befriending service in your area? Giving your time is just as important as raising money.
4. Social Media
Social media is an amazing tool for raising mental health awareness. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or even your own blog, make use of this tool to share mental health-related posts to raise awareness and show your support to those who are struggling. In doing so, you not only help the larger cause of making mental health more understood, but you may also help to give someone the courage to reach out and seek support.
Of course, these are just a few ideas of things you can do to advocate for mental health awareness, so this list is by no means exhaustive. If you have your own ideas, that’s great!
If you are already a mental health advocate, what kind of things do you do to advocate? Let me know in the comments!
We definitely need more mental health advocates, and I think sometimes people don’t realise that they don’t have to dedicate their own life to advocating – they just need to offer some support. I’m a mental health advocate within my job as I work with young people with mental health issues to get them back into work and I’m also a mental health first aider. I try and talk about mental health experiences openly with the people who need it. I guess I’m also an advocate for a person as well, as I help be the voice for my partner (who has a variety of mental health issues) when his won’t talk.
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