Individual advocacy encompasses speaking up and advocating for the mental health needs of those who are vulnerable. Individual advocates can be family members, friends, or professional supports.
Individual advocacy can be especially powerful with important life decisions such as educational and career planning. Advocates can help with accessing mental health care– making appointments, arranging transportation, and navigating the complexities of the medical and mental health systems. Finally, advocates can be very helpful with guidance in interpersonal relationship struggles and resources for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.
A case manager is an example of a professional paid individual advocate. A case manager can assist with developing a care plan and crisis plans. They are knowledgeable about resources available within the community and ways to access supports. They can help coordinate care when multiple providers are involved and help support overall mental health needs.
Children’s mental health case management services available through the county. For adults there are Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services Providers (ARMHS) workers. In Hennepin County, the Front Door (612-348-4111) is a great resource to talk with a county staff person about eligibility criteria and options.
Another great resource is Disability Hub MN.
Health, housing, work, independence, and money are areas that advocates are available to assist with.
For those over age 65, SeniorAge Line (1-800-333-2433) is a free resource that offers resources specific to the needs of aging adults. https://mn.gov/board-on-aging/direct-services/senior-linkage-line/
Finally, here is a resource filled with advocacy and general information for people with disabilities:
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