dictionary entry for advocacy photo

Advocacy means different things for different people (and groups), but we can break it down into a few key areas:

  • Self-Advocacy is representing and advancing your own interests;
  • Peer-to-Peer or Individual Advocacy is representing the rights and interests of someone other than yourself;
  • Systems Advocacy is influencing social, political and economic systems to bring about change for groups of people;
  • Legal Advocacy is using attorneys and the legal or administrative systems to establish or protect legal rights.

Our mission at The Network encompasses most types of advocacy (with the exception of legal advocacy), we teach others to advocate for themselves and the peer community at-large. Our stories are powerful and one of the best tools available to break down stigma!

Why? The average person will remember a story over a bunch of statistics of facts any day! Stories lend credibility and authority to an issue. They help those who don’t have experience with the mental health and substance use disorder system understand and empathize with the difficulties.  Our stories can also help break through the stigma about causes of mental illnesses by breaking down barriers of ignorance, prejudice, discrimination, and promoting education, awareness, and action.

Interested and want to learn more? Contact our advocacy team! We meet bi-weekly to discuss pertinent issues, discuss legislation and strategize how to continue breaking down the stigma.

Email us at: [email protected] and see how you can get involved!!

What is Advocacy?

Amanda Kearney-Smith

I founded the Network as the Executive Director in 2011 and, before that, I was a program director at Mental Health Colorado. My educational background is in Developmental Psychology, but living with bipolar disorder has drawn me to this work. I'm most passionate about protecting the civil rights and dignity of others. In my free time, I love reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my family here and in Illinois.

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