Our Goals in Advocacy
The Colorado Mental Wellness Network is staffed entirely by people with (or are close family members of those with) mental health, substance use, trauma and/or co-occurring conditions. Because of that, one of our main priorities is helping our peers, or other people in recovery from mental health conditions, improve the quality of their lives and give back to their communities. One way we do this is by providing advocacy training so that peers can more effectively advocate for themselves, a loved one, or the peer community as a whole. This advocacy is needed at policy-making tables, legislative hearings, in the media, and in their home communities.
Our overall goal in advocacy is to increase public awareness of what it means to have a mental health condition. That can include concepts like:
- The problems with stereotypes and assumptions about mental health conditions
- The disconnect between available mental health services and service-user needs
- The challenges of living, working, and going to school with a mental health condition
- The barriers to treatment that people with mental health conditions experience
If this sounds appealing to you, check our calendar to find and register for upcoming advocacy training.
What is Advocacy?
Types of advocacy
- Self-advocacy is representing yourself and your own interests
- Peer-to-peer or individual advocacy is representing someone else and their interests
- Systems advocacy is influencing social, political, and economic systems to bring about change for a group of people
- Legal advocacy is using attorneys and the legal or administrative systems to establish or protect legal rights
- Legislative advocacy is voicing support or opposition to legislation using legislative hearings, petitioning, or public demonstration
Learn more about the different types of advocacy by watching the video below and completing our “Using Your Story” handout. You’ll also learn about why sharing your story is one of the most effective ways of conducting advocacy. This is because the average person will remember a story much better than a bunch of statistics. Additionally, stories lend credibility and authority to an issue because they help those who don’t have experience with the mental health care system understand and empathize with our challenges. Stories can also evoke the type of emotional conviction that’s necessary to make real change.
Legislative Advocacy 101 Trainings
Each year, the Colorado Mental Wellness Network offers a community Legislative Advocacy 101 training towards the beginning of the Colorado Legislative Session. However, if you are interested in hosting a Legislative Advocacy 101 training in your community or through your organization or agency, please contact us at [email protected]. Advocacy training sessions are intended to offer training on the legislative process and/or how to share your story as an advocate, including how to give legislative testimony using your story.
We look forward to collaborating with you!