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Health Policy & Advocacy
Basic Information

Health Policy & Advocacy

If you experience troubling emotional or psychological symptoms,like depression, bipolar disorder or manic depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dissociative disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, or an anxiety disorder, you may be looking for some information and support on speaking out for yourself.

Perhaps you have forgotten that you have the same rights as other people. Maybe, you may have come to feel that you have lost the power to ask for what you want and need. You may have struggled so much that you have become discouraged, just a little, or maybe deeply.

If you have been having a very hard time, others may have taken control over your life; they may be making most or all of your decisions. They may be doing a reasonable job of this, but you want to take back control. Perhaps you simple want others to treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.

Whatever your situation...

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

How can I become an effective health advocate for myself?

  • Even if you feel you have never advocated effectively for yourself, you can learn to become your own best champion.
  • Being a good self-advocate means taking personal responsibility for your own life, putting yourself back in charge and staying there.
  • Speaking out means insisting that others respect your rights and treat you well.
  • Believe in Yourself - Believing in yourself means you are aware of your strengths, know that you are worthwhile, and are willing to take good care of yourself.
  • Get the Facts - When you speak up for yourself, you need to know what you are talking about. You need to gather information and make sure the information you have is accurate.
  • Plan Your Strategy - Once you know what you want and you have information about it, you may want to set a timeline and even small goals to achieve by certain dates. You may want to think of several ways to address the problem in case one way doesn't work out.
  • Gather Support - It is easier and usually more effective to work on getting what you want and need for yourself if you have the support of one or several friends, family members, or health care providers.
  • Target Your Efforts - Figure out who you need to deal with to get action on this matter and talk directly with the person or people who can best assist you.
  • Ask for what you want - Make an appointment to see the person or people who can help you get what you want. When you are asking for what you want and need, be brief and concise.
  • Assert yourself calmly - Don't lose your temper and lash out at the other person, their character, or the organization.
  • Be firm and persistent - Don't give up! Keep at it until you get what you want, need, and deserve.
  • Debrief -After your appointment, arrange to meet a friend so you can tell someone what happened. It will help reduce your stress and keep you feeling well.
  • Know Your Rights - everyone is entitled to the same civil rights and equal treatment, including people with disabilities or distressing symptoms.

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