In order to improve and manage community health, health advocates help organize a plethora of services ranging from health events to educational experiences. Advocates come in many different forms and settings. For instance, health advocates are generally doctors and nurses though other health advocates may come from a different professional background, such as social work. However, health advocates can also come from a background unrelated to medicine, so long as the individual is burgeoning with a passion that centers on raising awareness of health-related issues.
Individuals who work as health advocates will typically aid clients in improving their health care experience by ensuring that clients not only learn about but also have an opportunity to access available programs and resources. According to SoCal Health Advocates, individuals in this field often endeavor to improve the lives of clients by breaking down barriers that prevent people from access to quality healthcare in order to prevent serious illness or prevent relapses.
However, health advocacy is not limited to only physical health. Due to its nature of stigmatization, great effort has been expended into improving mental health advocacy as well. According to the World Health Organization, it is crucial for advocacy efforts to continue educating the public about mental illness in order to truly revolutionize not only the manner in which mental health is perceived but also improve access to mental health treatments.
As part of its mental health advocacy efforts, the WHO has created MiNDbank, an online resource that has pooled together information regarding global policies and services regarding mental health. One of the goals of MiNDbank is to facilitate open debate and discussion about mental health topics in order to promote human rights for mental health patients as well as improving the mental healthcare system as a whole.
It is imperative for advocates to work towards eliminating the stigma and ignorance regarding mental illness, particularly since individuals with mental disabilities are subject to maltreatment and discrimination on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, legal institutions have been unable to protect the basic human rights of these individuals.
Although the United States struggles with the burden of a stigmatized and under-funded mental healthcare system, many countries, lack adequate mental health facilities due to even greater stigma and a general lack of awareness. Therefore, mental health advocates strive to inform society about mental illness in order to reverse the disagreeable image of mental health patients, and ultimately, construct a more efficient, more understanding and more accessible global mental healthcare system.
– Phoebe Pradhan