By Traci Noelle
Mental health care is a complex system. Laws and regulations, government budgets, and research on best practices and educational standards for various services, all create the umbrella of resources we use when we are struggling. And it is in our interest to advocate for ourselves as we seek shelter beneath that umbrella.
Self-advocacy—promoting and supporting our own interests and well-being—requires reflection and self-awareness to know what does and doesn’t work for us. Sometimes, we need the courage to say: “I don’t know what I need. Can you help me figure it out?”
Advocating for ourselves whole-heartedly entails addressing every possible layer that could affect our lives: personal, community and government. These layers have profound influences on one another, and are therefore equally important.
Here are my recommended practices for each of these layers:
Mental illness can damage self-esteem, but when we self-advocate within every layer of our lives, we are able to repair some of that damage and empower ourselves.
Traci Noelle, author of Two Hands: Use rituals to create your own peace from Borderline Personality Disorder, has been running away from home on a sometimes bumpy, but always interesting road, since 1995. Traci settled in British Columbia, Canada, where she writes on her blog, Letters to a Young Borderline.
We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.
Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.
In a crisis? Call or text 988.
Find Your Local NAMI