When your child is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, there are many predictable emotional reactions; shock, denial, anger, guilt and grief are all normal stages among family members. Make advocacy the next stage in your journey.

What is Advocacy? Advocacy is many things. It is making sure your child is receiving the best care possible. It is being the voice of your child when they can't speak for themselves. It is supporting a cause. It is fighting for what you believe is right.

You can make a difference in your child's care - become an advocate! Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Educate Yourself

    Do your research and find out as much as possible on your child's illness, treatment options, medication, recovery, public policy and more. Most importantly, reach out to other parents who have been there before.

  • Take Charge and Speak Up

    Take charge in your child's care and speak up! You are the expert in your child's 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 own child, you may be ready to help others. Below is a list of organizations that will get you on the right track and provide the opportunity to fight for the rights of every child 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.

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.

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education (PACER)

PACER expands opportunities and enhances the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents.

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.

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.

Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health (MACMH)

MACMH promotes positive mental health for families, from the youngest infant through adolescence. They help families navigate complex systems, connect with peers and become trained leaders. They help youth find their voice and advocate for their rights.

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.



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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