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What is Advocacy? Can I Really Be An Advocate

There are many ways to advocate and only you can define yourself as an advocate!

Advocacy is empowerment and finding your voice to express feelings and thoughts about how

mental illness impacts your life.  There is no wrong way to advocate!

You might:

 Join NAMI-HC and a local affiliate, support group, or the Public Policy Committee

 Tell another person about your experiences with mental illness

 Stick up for yourself or others who are putting people with mental illnesses down

 Comfort your loved one who experiences pain due to stigma and misconceptions

 Sign up to receive “Stigmabusters” email alerts from NAMI National to challenge stereotypes and

educate society about the reality of mental illness

 Cut out a newspaper article with a positive message about mental illness & share it with


 Ask questions! It’s your right to understand your or your loved one’s illness

 Write a letter to the editor expressing your opinion on mental illness

 Call your state representative or senator and urge her/him to increase funding for services

 Participate with a mental health advocacy organization in our community

 Get trained to run a support group for family members or consumers, teach a NAMI education

course or be a resource for future courses

 Sign up to receive emails that let you know of new advocacy opportunities (Action Alerts!)

 Join a team or volunteer at NAMI-Walks or a committee for the annual NAMI-MD  state conference

 Attend or testify at public hearings to tell your story at the State Capitol

And much, much, much more! What else can you think of?


Legislative advocacy is one way to improve your experiences with the mental health system. You can have a direct effect on people who create policy that impacts people with mental illnesses.


 For more information on advocacy, contact our office at 410-772-9300 or

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