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Advocate For Change

Family members and friends of people with schizophrenia can be a powerful force for change through their advocacy efforts. Advocacy is the process of arguing for or supporting a cause or pleading on behalf of another person. Getting involved with advocacy is important because many people with schizophrenia are not able to advocate for themselves. The two most common types of advocacy are:

INDIVIDUAL ADVOCACY

Individual Advocacy is the effort by one person to support, empower or act on behalf of another individual. As an individual advocate, you can help someone with schizophrenia obtain medical services and other resources they need. Because you know and care about your ill family member or friend, you can help with their treatment and recovery by being involved in a positive way. Individual advocacy often includes finding out as much as you can about schizophrenia, and how symptoms are treated; joining a support group to learn about how other families and friends have dealt with issues; identifying the specific problem or obstacle; developing a plan to deal with the issue; and finally, putting the plan into action. This can include making calls, writing letters, and making appointments to speak with someone in charge.

SYSTEMIC ADVOCACY

Systemic Advocacy works at many levels of “the system” for changes that will improve care for people with schizophrenia. Advocacy is making an important difference at every level of government, professional associations, media and other organizations across Canada. This can include activities such as changing legislation, policies, and practices in order to improve the lives of people with schizophrenia. When there is so much to be done, taking on “the system” may seem overwhelming but when people get together, the work can be divided into specific “doable” tasks. If you would like to get involved, consider what might be most interesting to you – education, public awareness, access to treatment, housing, rehabilitation, and fundraising for these activities are all areas that can use your help.

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