Advocacy is many things. It is making sure you are receiving the best care possible. It is speaking up for yourself and making your own decisions. It is looking out for yourself and demanding respect from others. It is supporting a cause and fighting for what you believe is right.

You can become a self-advocate at home, in your community, in school and in your workplace. You can also become an advocate for yourself when it comes to determining the mental health services and supports that are best for you. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Educate Yourself

    Do your research and find out as much as possible on your illness, treatment options, medication, recovery, public policy and more. Most importantly, reach out to others who are dealing with similar experiences.

  • Take Charge and Speak Up

    Take charge in your care and speak up! You are the expert in your life. Ask questions. Make decisions. Challenge your provider. Express your needs. Voice your concerns. If you aren't feeling listened to, validated or understood, or your values and beliefs aren't being acknowledged or supported, look for a different provider.

  • Take Action and Fight for Others

    Once you are comfortable being an active advocate for your care, you may be ready to help others. Below is a list of organizations and programs that will get you on the right track and provide the opportunity to fight for your rights and the rights of every child and adult living with mental illness.

Advocacy Organizations and Training Programs

Arc Midstate (Advocacy, Resources, and Connections for People with Developmental Disabilities)

Arc is a leader in influencing the development and implementation of public policies that affect the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Arc also coordinates People First, an international self-advocacy and self-help organization for adults with disabilities who want to make their own choices, speak up for themselves and be independent.

Community Project Crisis Plan

It can be particularly challenging to express your wishes when you are experiencing a psychiatric crisis. You will likely not feel like yourself or in control of your thoughts and actions. When you are feeling healthy and good about yourself, you may want to develop a crisis plan to share with your support network, including, trusted family, friends and your providers.

Independent Lifestyles, Inc.

One of the core services provided by Independent Lifestyles is advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers.  Independent Lifestyles is also committed to advocacy on a systems level addressing and removing barriers for people with disabilities so they can live more independently.

Mental Health America

Mental Health America's Advocacy Network is a powerful voice for change that is made up of thousands of individuals nationwide who take an active role in protecting America's mental health through legislative advocacy.

NAMI Minnesota

Advocacy efforts are a major part of NAMI Minnesota's mission to support persons with mental illness and their families and to work to enact positive changes in the mental health system. NAMI is an active participant on work groups and committees that address issues related to mental illness.

Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

An Ombudsman is an official who is designated to assist you to overcome the delay, injustice or impersonal delivery of services. The Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities is charged under Minnesota Statutes 245.91 – 245.97 with promoting the highest attainable standards of treatment, competency, efficiency and justice for persons receiving services for mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency and emotional disturbance in children.

Partners In Policymaking

Partners in Policymaking® is a leadership training program designed for adults with disabilities and for parents of young children with developmental disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills, and the process of developing positive partnerships with elected officials and other individuals who make the policy decisions about services that you and your family use.



CAMHI Joint Powers Board-Advisory Committee In-Service

We’re asking Joint Power Board members and Advisory Committee members to please join us for a day of networking, learning, and fun! ...View details


CAMHI Joint Powers Board Meeting

The CommUNITY Adult Mental Health Initiative's Joint Powers Board meeting is held on the first Thursday of the odd numbered months at 3pm. ...View details


CAMHI Anti-Stigma Workgroup Meeting

Fight the stigma associated with mental health. Work on ways to promote mental wellness and educate people on mental health. ...View details

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