How to be the best Advocate

Tips from staff to us be the best supporters and advocates

  • Treat all people with dignity and respect. Remember that all of us are someone’s baby girl or boy and that the behaviors we display are not the result of poor choices or low moral character but rather the survival response to the environment that we were born into and brought up through.
  • The only way for someone to overcome a traumatic upbringing is through providing a consistently supportive and nurturing environment.
  • Be trauma informed!
  • People with substance use disorder or mental illness are not crazy or evil- They’re people!
  • Continue to care and support people by changing the language about them. It is not “us vs them”, it is just “us” all together and messy. We all have issues and shortcomings, some are just more visual or impairing than others.
  • I have found in my experience, being a supporter of someone with mental and/or substance use issues can go both ways-poorly; if there is no understanding, compassion, empathy, and boundaries, or beautifully; if there is understanding, compassion, boundaries, empathy and humor!
  • Educating oneself on substance abuse and mental illness will create a foundation of knowledge. Understanding that both mental illness and substance abuse conjointly affect the individual. Then, that is when individuals can actively be able to listen, utilize appropriate terms and languages, imbed research, and create an advocacy plan of action to identify the opposition, challenges and any resistance that might unfold to improve upon areas of concern.
  • Additionally, individuals can be assertive yet empathetic, be enthusiastic and compassionate, and be adaptable to different perspectives and stories.
  • Lastly, providing resources to help individuals that are living, and actively facing the co occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental illness so that they are able to lead a better quality of life.
  • As a community we are well equipped to enable these individuals to improve their quality of lives, and should do whatever it takes collectively provide resources through different channels to provide them the help they need to alleviate poverty within the community that’s driven by both substance abuse and mental illness, all too often poverty is an association either directly or indirectly to a magnitude of mental illness and or substance abuse.
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